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Bundesliga – Wolfsburg back in the Europa League race – sport

With a clear 4-0 win against FSV Mainz 05, VfL moves to the European Cup places. Mainz is stuck in the relegation battle.

VfL Wolfsburg is again a serious Europa League candidate in the Bundesliga. Lower Saxony also deservedly won 4-0 (2-0) against Mainz 05 on Sunday evening and improved to seventh place in the table past Freiburg and Hoffenheim. For their sixth place in the previous season, the “wolves” are now only two points away.

The goals in front of 21 058 spectators were scored by Josip Brekalo (21 minutes), twice Renato Steffen (45/68) and Yannick Gerhardt (49). The team of coach Oliver Glasner was clearly better, but at least the two goals of the first half could have prevented the sometimes desolate guests. Goalkeeper Robin Zentner looked bad in the Brekalo long-range shot. Before the 2: 0 two attempts at clarification failed in a grotesque way. At first Jeffrey Bruma, borrowed only from VfL, faked the ball, then Zentner and Moussa Niakhaté disturbed each other.

As a result, Mainz lost two good appearances against Schalke 04 (0: 0) and Hertha BSC (3: 1) to further distance themselves from relegation places. Wolfsburg, on the other hand, coped with both the strains of the current Europa League round and a long dropout list remarkably well. Because only three days after the 2-1 win in the first round first leg against Malmö FF, VfL had to replace the suspended Maximilian Arnold and Marin Pongracic on Sunday as well as the injured William, Jerome Roussillon and Josuha Guilavogui. The squad was so thin that there were two goalkeepers, three players from the second team and the Belgian Ismail Azzaoui, who was last used in the Bundesliga in February 2016.

It only became dangerous for the “Wolves” in the first four minutes when the Mainz team hit six corners into their penalty area. After that, Wolfsburg dominated almost exclusively. At the beginning it was not that easy because the guests had five defenders around their own penalty area. The game in Mainz only seemed to follow a plan in its own half. Because as soon as they had the ball themselves, they couldn’t think of much. One day before Shrove Monday, the company’s own special jerseys for Fastnacht and numerous 05 fans dressed up in the guest block had no inspiring effect.

Gerhardt, seldom used this season, destroyed the last hopes for a turnaround shortly after the break. And as before the second goal, Daniel Ginczek did a remarkable preparatory work. From then on, Wolfsburg could spare a little for the Europa League second leg in Sweden on Thursday without losing any of their dominance. They only allowed a post header from Jean-Philippe Mateta (64th). For VfL it was the best home game since the 2-1 win over Mönchengladbach in December.

© Sz.de/dpa/schm

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