2023 has come to an end and the Bundesliga enters its traditional Winterpause, which gives us here at Bundesliga Fanatic the ideal opportunity to take a closer look at each of the eighteen clubs and rate their performance in the first half of the season. Next we run the rule over VfL Wolfsburg.
The story so far
There have been two sides to Wolfsburg this season- the team that wins and the team that loses with not much in between. Only one of their sixteen games in the Hinrunde ended in a draw, but with nine losses they finished just outside the top half of the table. With Niko Kovac leading them to eighth last season, an improvement is going to be required if they are to improve on or at least match that achievement.
The season started in a positive manner with back-to-back victories over Heidenheim and Köln. The next two away matches were both lost at Hoffenheim and Dortmund, but they did pick up full points from their two games at the Volkswagen Arena against Union Berlin and Frankfurt.
Next however came a run of five games with just a single point picked up amongst four defeats, but they did have the slight bonus of knocking holders RB Leipzig out of the DFB Pokal. The poor run without a win came to an end on matchday 12 with a second victory over Leipzig. They would however be knocked out in the following round by Borussia Mönchengladbach.
December brought three defeats out of four matches with the only bright spot a 1-0 away win at bottom side Darmstadt. There has been a new look defence with Moritz Jenz, Cedric Zesiger and Joakim Maehle coming in and the injury absence of Kevin Wimmer has been a blow. The arrival of Lovro Majer has been some compensation, while the form of striker Jonas Wind has been a big bonus.
Finishing in the bottom half of the table will be disappointing for Niko Kovac, but the simple fact is too many games have been lost (only Köln, Union Berlin and Darmstadt lost more with ten apiece). Last season saw a big push in the Rückrunde, and Wolfsburg fans will want to see a repeat of that.
Tale of the tape
Record: 6-1-9, 19 points (1.19 per game), 10th in Bundesliga
Home Record: 13 points (4-1-3) Away Record: 6 points (2-0-6)
Goals: 20 (1.25 per game), Goals Against: 27 (1.69 per game), Diff: -7
xG: 19.6, xGA: 25.3
The ‘double’ achieved over RB Leipzig was a highlight. Vaclac Cerny’s goal proved enough to knock the back-to-back Pokal holders out of the competition, and then their league win on matchday 12 saw Wolfsburg end their own poor run of results.
The 3-2 loss to Augsburg saw them throw the game away in the last ten minutes with two goals conceded, but the worst performance (and loss) came when they travelled to Mönchengladbach and were thumped 4-0.
The goal scoring exploits of Danish striker Jonas Wind have elevated him to Wolfsburg’s top performer in the first half of the season. He scored four times in the opening two matches and added another brace in the win over Frankfurt. The previous two seasons at the club saw him score five and six goals respectively, so he is already on his best season for die Wölfe and will be targeting more goals in the New Year.
Wolfsburg finishing the Hinrunde in the bottom half spells a step backwards from last season’s eighth place finish and gets a ‘must do better’ verdict. The return of Kevin Wimmer will be a boost, but Niko Kovac needs to hope he sees a repeat of last season’s Rückrunde revival.