Maximilian Arnold was the catalyst as Wolfsburg consolidated their place in the top six with a routine home win against faltering Mainz on Saturday.
Goals: 1-0 Arnold (4'), 2-0 Weghorst (pen. 70'), 3-0 Knoche (76')
Mainz had shipped eight goals in their previous two league outings, and the porous trend only continued in Wolfsburg. The contest wasn't even five minutes old when Josip Brekalo worked an opening for Arnold, who fired low into the far corner from 18 yards to give the Wolves the lead. To their credit, the 05ers assumed control of proceedings thereafter, albeit only seriously testing Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels the once. The Belgian stopper could only parry Pierre Kunde's effort, but had Robin Knoche to thank for sweeping clear ahead of the waiting Jean-Philippe Mateta.
Wolfsburg came out with renewed purpose at the start of the second half as Arnold stung the palms of Florian Müller from range, before John Brooks went within a whisker of getting his head on a probing back-post cross. The Wolves wanted a penalty when Brekalo's cross appeared to hit the arm of Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and they got it following consultation with the VAR. Wout Weghorst made no mistake from the spot, but Bruno Labbadia's side weren't done yet. Arnold's long-range rocket caused pandemonium in the Mainz area, with Knoche applying the finishing touch from close range to seal Wolfsburg's second win of 2019.
Watch: Wout Weghorst calls for Wolfsburg improvement, despite win
- Wolfsburg are yet to lose this season in games in which they have taken the lead (W10, D2).
- Arnold scored his first Bundesliga goal since 20 January 2018 (34 matches).
- Knoche also grabbed his first goal of the season - Wolfsburg's 1100th in the Bundesliga.
- Weghorst has scored nine times so far this term, and is averaging a goal with every fifth shot.
- Mainz ended 2018 with the joint-fourth best defence in the Bundesliga, but have shipped the joint-highest number of goals in their five outings this year (15).
- The 05ers have gone 1-0 down in the opening 15 matches in six of their last nine Bundesliga matches.
Wolfsburg: Casteels – William, Knoche, Brooks, Roussillon – Gerhardt, Guilavogui (c) (Rexhbecaj 84'), Arnold – Steffen (Mehmedi 71'), Weghorst, Brekalo (Klaus 78')
Unused subs: Pervan, Verhaegh, Malli, Uduokhai
Out: Azzaoui (knee), Camacho (ankle), Ginczek (ankle), Jung (knock)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia
Mainz: Müller – Brosinski, Bell (c), Niakhate, Martin – Gbamin, Kunde, Latza (Holtmann 77') – Boetius (Ujah 77') – Quaison (Onisiwo 60'), Mateta
Unused subs: Zentner, Hack, Baku, Öztunali
Out: Adler (knee), Berggreen (hamstring), Bungert (illness), Burkhardt (muscular), Huth (knee), Mwene (knee)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz