KENYA BROWN - Monday, February 24, 2020
John Brooks remained in the Wolfsburg starting line-up as they secured a shutout win over Mainz to keep the pressure on their rivals for a European place.
Wolfsburg 4-0 Mainz
Goals from Josip Brekalo, Renato Steffen, and Yannick Gerhardt helped Wolfsburg cruise to a comfortable win over Mainz at the Volkswagen Arena, giving them back-to-back victories for the first time since last year.
John Brooks, who had been out of the team for a while, made his second start for the team and went the distance.
The host opened the scoring in emphatic fashion just inside 20 minutes when Brekalo fired in a long-range strike. Mainz goalkeeper Robin Zentner did get his hands on the ball, but the shot was too powerful as it hit the back of the net in the end.
Wolfsburg found themselves up two just before the halftime whistle when Steffen pounced on a loose to head in from close range. Zentner made a brilliant save from a deflected shot as this hit the post, but his teammates failed to clear the ball, thus allowing the Swiss midfielder the chance to score.
That momentum carried over into the second half as Gerhardt scored just minutes after the restart. The German midfielder was on the spot to tap in a low cross from Daniel Ginczek.
Steffen rounded out the scoring in the 68th minute with a dazzling solo play. With his initial shot on the edge of the area being blocked, he retained possession of the ball and dribbled past three Mainz defenders before slotting his shot into the goal.
The win moves Wolfsburg up to seventh place in the standings with 34 points, two points behind Schalke for a Europa League spot and nine away from a Champions League spot.
In other action from the Bundesliga, Weston McKennie and Schalke were thrashed by RB Leipzig in a 5-0 defeat as they now barely hold on to sixth place and the Europa League spot.
Alfredo Morales came off the bench to help Fortuna Dusseldorf to a much-needed 2-0 win over Freiburg to keep their survival hopes on track.
Giovanni Reyna played the final 13 minutes for Borussia Dortmund in their 2-0 victory over Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen to maintain their pursuit of the Bundesliga crown.
In the 2. Bundesliga, Timothy Tillman started his first game for Greuther Furth as they shared the points with Wehen Wiesbaden following a 1-1 tie.
Jan George and Jahn Regensburg were no match for head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo and Vfb Stuttgart as the promotion chasers came away with a 2-0 win.
Bobby Wood returned to the bench for Hamburg as they fell to St. Pauli in a 2-0 defeat.
Down in the 3. Liga, McKinze Gaines and Sonnenhof Großaspach appear to be headed for relegation as they fell to Viktoria Koln in a 1-0 loss.
Terrence Boyd's scoring touch seems to have left him as Hallescher FC ended up on the wrong end of a 5-3 defeat to Unterhaching.