Wolfsburg showed great resilience as they overcame an early red card to secure a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Darmstadt at the Merck-Stadion am Bollenfalltor. Lovro Majer’s timely goal proved to be the difference between the two sides, as Darmstadt failed to find the back of the net for only the third time at home this season.
Both teams entered the match with their own challenges to overcome, and this was evident in a somewhat tense opening half-hour. Wolfsburg, who had only won one of their previous eight Bundesliga matches, had a few moments of excitement with a solo run and a blocked shot from Yannick Gerhardt. On the other hand, Darmstadt’s Clemens Riedel, representing a squad with the worst Bundesliga defense, struggled to find a teammate with a promising cross.
The game took a controversial turn when Maxence Lacroix brought down Luca Pfeiffer as he ran through on goal. The referee showed Lacroix a red card, giving Darmstadt an improved share of possession. However, Wolfsburg held firm and reached halftime with the scoresheet still unmarked.
The halftime break seemed to rejuvenate Wolfsburg, and they came out strongly in the second half. Only a last-ditch block from Riedel prevented Mattias Svanberg from giving 10-man Wolfsburg the lead. Shortly after, Jonas Wind came close with a Beckham-esque attempt to chip the ball over the line, but it drifted wide.
This sparked a resurgence from Darmstadt, and they launched a quick counter-attack, narrowly missing an opportunity to score with a ball across the goal. However, Joakim Mæhle showed composure, sliding the ball behind for a corner kick.
And it was from that corner kick that Wolfsburg finally broke the deadlock. Wind passed the ball to Majer, who skillfully dribbled into the box and fired a shot into the corner of the net, giving Wolfsburg a well-deserved lead.
Despite their numerical advantage and a brilliant double save by Koen Casteels, including a point-blank reaction save from Pfeiffer, Darmstadt couldn’t avoid their eighth consecutive league game without a victory. This defeat marked their sixth loss in that disappointing sequence, in stark contrast to the positive mood surrounding Wolfsburg’s camp after their comeback in the second half.
Wolfsburg’s ability to overcome adversity and secure a crucial victory is a testament to their resilience and determination. The win will undoubtedly boost their confidence as they look to climb up the Bundesliga table and continue their pursuit of success this season.