Vfl misses the next big step

Vfl misses the next big step

On 2. February is traditionally celebrated Groundhog Day in the U.S. and Canada. In this cultural event, the rodents are used to forecast the further course of winter. However, the squirrel gained much more popularity through the 90s comedy "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray, who is stuck in a time loop and has to relive the same day, Groundhog Day, over and over again.

This small rodent could replace so slowly the wolf as heraldic animal of the VfL Wolfsburg. Because on Saturday, a day after Groundhog Day, the Bundesliga soccer team had to settle for a 1-1 (1-0) draw against VfB Stuttgart. It was already the twelfth draw in the 21. match of the season, after which even Admir Mehmedi, who has been playing for VfL for just one week following his move from Bayer Leverkusen, realized, "You don't really get anywhere with a draw."

Martin Schmidt's team has failed to take a step out of the league cellar and further distance a direct competitor. The first half, in which Divock Origi scored the 1-0 before 24 378 spectators in the VW Arena (24. minute), was mostly respectable. VfL dominated VfB, by far the weakest away team in the league, with Tayfun Korkut a new coach on the bench, but failed to follow up with the second goal. Daniel Didavi (27., 29.), Yunus Malli (32.) and again Didavi (39.) had possibilities, but left them out of.

And so a change during the break (from then on, Stuttgart played with two real center forwards and a lot of long balls) was enough for VfB to knock VfL out of its rhythm. "In part," confessed sports director Olaf Rebbe, "we let ourselves be lulled to sleep."Stuttgart pressed for the equalizer, VfL couldn't break free, and the visitors were rewarded when Mario Gomez did what he's always done best on his return: stand true, put his foot in, cheer the goal (60.). The international's goal was a real mood killer – just not for the Wolfsburg coach.

Schmidt remains optimistic despite the sharp drop in his team's performance from the first to the second half and highlights his positive impressions. "It was a good performance over long periods, a very good game from us," he says. "Especially in the first half, the team executed the match plan exactly. The only flaw was that we didn't add the second goal. But I hold my hand over the team."

The Swiss talks his VfL strong, sprays a lot of optimism. However, he should bear in mind that this can also be interpreted to him as whitewashing. Because not only the second half against the VfB was worrying, but the entire development stagnates not only since December, it seems even regressive. The fact that Maximilian Arnold thinks his team is mentally stronger than in the preseason, "when we would have lost a game like that," doesn't help in view of the next draw in the standings. Where does the Wolfsburg way lead to? Even the groundhog doesn't know that this winter.