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Sunday, April 23, 2006 

Arminia Bielefeld 0-1 Wolfsburg

At long last! VfL Wolfsburg took a major step towards Bundesliga survival on Saturday afternoon, by beating Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 in the Schüco Arena in round 31 of the Bundesliga. The crucial solitary goal came on the stroke ofhalf time, as Miroslav Karhan scored from the penalty spot after Marian Hristov had been felled in the Bielefeld area moments before. On the bad news side, striker Mike Hanke picked up a nasty looking ankle injury which forced him out on 57 minutes.

Chop and change
The Bielefeld coach Thomas von Heesen made two changes to his side which lost 0-2 away to Bayern last time out. Masmanidis replaced Küntzel in midfield, while Wichniarek took the place of Djalovic up front. Wolves coach Klaus Augenthaler also made 2 changes to his side which bravely battled their way to a 1-1 home draw against Werder Bremen in round 30: Franz came in fort he suspended Quiroga and van der Leegte got the nod ahead of the slightly injured Sarpei.

Cautious start
While Bielefeld could afford to begin the game knowing that relegation was a long way away, it was plain to see that the visitors had their backs to the wall as their nervous start underlined. On 6 minutes the home side had a half chance as Boakye headed a Kobylik cross wide of the right hand post. Shortly afterwards the Wolves settled down and didn’t allow the home side to settle on the ball, which Arminia didn’t like at all. Both sides cancelled each other out in midfield during a first half which was almost void of goalmouth action.

Little goalmouth action
It took until the 36th minute before the 18,000 crowd (including 2,000 travelling Wolves fans) saw the second chance of the game. Menseguez (who had a superb game) crossed into the Bielefeld area where Marlet got a header in which was easily dealt with by the home keeper Hain. Three minutes before the break Bielefeld’s Masmanidis set up Kauf, who let fly from 22 metres out. Luckily for the Wolves, Simon Jentzsch dealt with the tricky bouncing shot by turning it around a post.

Karhan puts the Wolves ahead!
The next drama came during injury time of the first half in the Schüco Arena as Hristov advanced into the box with the ball at his feet. A clumsy sliding challenge by Gabriel took the lags from under him and the match referee Gräfe pointed to the spot after a little glance towards his assistant. Up stepped the Wolves midfielder Karhan to send Hain the wrong way with a well struck spot kick which gave the Wolves a slender half time lead.

Schnoor goes close
Bielefeld brought on the former Hertha winger Pinto, for the invisible former Hertha striker Wichniarek. The introduction of the little Portuguese dribbler did not have the desired effect, because the Wolves had the home side under control for long periods and their keeper had very little to do at first. On 53 minutes, Hain was called into action as he was forced to turn a tricky Schnoor free kick around an upright. On 57 minutes, the Wolves striker Mike Hanke was taken off with what appeared to be a nasty ankle injury.

Marlet unlucky
Wolfsburg stood solid at the back and rarely allowed the home side the chance to threaten. The visitors had chances to put the game beyond Arminia, but failed to take any of them. Gräfe disallowed what appeared to be a perfectly good goal for offside, as Marlet volleyed home on 72 minutes. It was a hairline decision to say the least. Barely three minutes later, Hain saved with his feet to deny Marlet.

Simon shows his class
It took until ten minutes from time for Bielefeld to wake up from their collective lethargy. The home side finally gathered a head of steam and began to threaten Jenztzschs’s goal. Boakye missed tow good opportunities as the Wolves defence failed to pick him up on 83 minutes and two minutes later Jentzsch saved all three points for his side by superbly clearing a Masmanidis shot for a corner.

Congratulations lads!
The Wolves stood firm and calmly played out the final few minutes left on the clock. The deserved victory was their fist away from home since October 2005. The three points move the Wolves up to 14th place in the Bundesliga table, three points above the relegation zone. Next weekend, fellow strugglers Mainz visit the VOLKSWAGEN ARENA in round 32, for what promises to be a classic six pointer not to be missed!

BIELEFELD: Hain; Korzynietz, Westermann, Gabriel, Schuler; Kauf, Kucera; D. Kobylik, Masmanidis; Boakye, Wichniarek

WLOFSBURG: Jentzsch; Alex, Franz, Schnoor, van der Heyden; van der Leegte; Karhan, Menseguez; Hristov; Hanke, Marlet

GOALS: 0-1, Karhan (45'pen)


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Bayern 31 70
2. Hamburg 31 65
3. Bremen 31 61
4. Schalke 31 55
5. Leverkusen 31 47
14. Wolfsburg 31 33

Source: vfl-wolfsburg.de


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