VfL has not been feeling happy away from home for some time. The namesake in the Ruhr area comes in handy as the next opponent. The goalkeeper even has a special anniversary waiting for him.
Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels could celebrate his 100th win in the Bundesliga this weekend. IMAGO/Christian Schroedter
Last Saturday, Koen Casteels recorded the 2-1 win against RB Leipzig. Wolfsburg’s Belgian goalkeeper was rewarded for his performance with a kicker grade of 2 and was only bettered on this match day by his Cologne colleague Marvin Schwäbe (1.5). The 31-year-old could have another reason to be happy this Saturday: in his 267 Bundesliga games for Lower Saxony, Hoffenheim and Bremen, Casteels has celebrated 99 wins (with 75 draws and 93 defeats). Is the special anniversary of the 100th triumph for the keeper coming up in the Ruhr area?
“Penalty Kings” in gloves
In Bochum there is another special feature regarding the goalkeeper position at the weekend. Casteels and his counterpart Manuel Riemann are real “penalty kings” of the league – in gloves. Only 30 of 46 penalties were converted against today’s Wolfsburg, which corresponds to a rate of 65.2 percent for the shooters. This value is topped by Riemann, against whom the opponents were only successful in 13 of 24 attempts, which corresponds to a meager hit rate of just 54.2 percent. No other current Bundesliga goalkeeper who has been called upon to take at least ten penalties has so far achieved such a good record as the two VfL goalkeepers.
For Wolfsburg, the statistical values of the more recent phase of the season are poor, as they only got three of their 16 points away from home. At no other club is the discrepancy between away and home records so large. The team lost all of their last five away games. The last time VfL had to cope with such a negative run on their opponents’ pitches was in the 2011/12 season. The all-time negative record is seven away defeats in a row, which happened to the “Wolves” in 2005/06. Across all seasons, Wolfsburg lost seven of their last eight away games (with only one win, 2-1 in Cologne at the end of August).
But a factual through ball could now lead to the crisis, with the Wolfsburg coach, who recently came under criticism, playing the key role. In his career, Niko Kovac has always been reliably happy with his upcoming opponent: the 52-year-old has never lost a Bundesliga game against VfL Bochum as a player (seven wins, three draws) or as a coach (two wins)!
Svanberg and Wimmer scored for the last time
And even if the Wolfsburg team only scored six times in eight away games since their last guest appearance in Bochum – on matchday 29 of the previous season they really let it rip in their 5-1 victory over their namesake. They have never scored more goals in an away game in the entire history of the Bundesliga. Mattias Svanberg and Patrick Wimmer, who is currently out with a syndesmosis injury, each scored their last Bundesliga goal to date on April 22, 2023. The Swede Svanberg even scored twice.
#Bochum #Wolfsburgs #Kovac #happy