TSG 1899 Hoffenheim defeated VfL Wolfsburg 3-0 at the Rhine-Neckar-Arena to edge closer to European qualification. Nico Schulz opened the scoring in the 18th minute as the hosts dominated a one sided first half. The visitors briefly threatened after the break, but a Serge Gnabry goal and a comical Joshua Guilavogui sealed a convincing victory for the hosts.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side began the match on the front foot with Schulz in particular enjoying plenty of space on the left wing. Andrej Kramaric tormented the Wolfsburg defence with clever positioning and combination play as both players would be involved in the opening goal.
Kramaric got behind the Wolfsburg defence, his shot parried by Casteels but straight into the path of Schulz who made no mistake from close range. The Wolves couldn’t contain the Hoffenheim wing-backs who were having a big influence on the game.
It should have been 2-0 as Kramaric found Gnabry at the far post, his shot hit the bar and fell back to Kramaric, but his effort was cleared off the line by a desperate Wolfsburg defence. Kramaric then burst clear once again, but with time to pick his spot Casteels produced a fine save.
The visitors began the second half well but were unable to create clear chances. Nagelsmann was becoming impatient as Joshua Guilavogui made a vital clearance with Kramaric ready to pounce, Mark Uth coming on for the Croatian forward moments later.
Uth joined Pavel Kadeřábek in targeting Wolfsburg’s inexperienced left-back Elvis Rexhbecaj an Gnabry soon took advantage. The Bayern Munich loanee received a cross from Uth, made room for himself and fired a left footed effort into the bottom corner.
Gnabry would be involved in Hoffenheim’s third goal minutes later with a low cross into the box. Robin Knoche’s attempted clearance rebounded off Guilavogui past a helpless Casteels to add to a forgettable game for the struggling Wolves.
By Matthew Marshall.