Struggling Wolfsburg Treads Water in the Bundesliga: Coach Kovac Stays Positive amid Alarming Results

VfL Wolfsburg continues to tread water in the Bundesliga after a 2-2 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt. Coach Niko Kovac praises his team – which, however, is in 17th place in the table of the last 17 games. Alarming!

Doesn’t move: Wolfsburg coach Niko Kovac. IMAGO/Thomas Frey

Even VfL Wolfsburg’s next draw, a win against Eintracht Frankfurt that was given away in stoppage time, does not change Niko Kovac’s public approach. Again there is not a negative word to say about the performance of his team, which played really well in the first half, created chances and deservedly led 2-1.

But the coach apparently didn’t find anything wrong with the extreme passivity after the break, which brought the unsettled and possibly tired opponent, who had played internationally on Thursday, back into the game. “The boys are doing well,” he praised, as he has in the past few weeks, even months, “but the reward never comes.” Always the same… And so Wolfsburg is still waiting for its first win in 2024 and has been winless for a total of eight games.

The boys are doing well, and so is the coach

A problem? Apparently not really. Always and constantly there is a song of praise. The boys are doing well, and so is the coach, and there is no public (self-) criticism. Instead, people continue to gloss over things, which is simply not nice given the standstill in the table. Although that is also true: the recent games against Dortmund (1:1) and Frankfurt, which kept Kovac in office, were certainly not bad. But not good enough against beatable opponents to finally win again.

Kovac: “We look forward positively”

“Let’s move on,” says Kovac and offers a possible explanation as to why victories have been missing for so long: “It’s not that easy to keep motivating yourself as a team, as a player after a disappointment.” Oh well. But still, it’s not all that bad. “There were a lot of positive things that we can take with us. That’s what a coach needs. We’re looking forward positively.”

However, a look at the facts turns out to be far less positive. And Kovac’s claim that “there aren’t too many teams that have more chances than us” can’t really be maintained. The truth is: Wolfsburg have created the fifth fewest chances (103) in the league this season, which is roughly in line with Lower Saxony’s place in the table (13th).

In the last 17 games, only Darmstadt was worse

In addition, the table of the last 17 games, an imaginary half-series in the middle of this season, paints a bleak picture of VfL: With 13 points, Kovac’s team is in 17th place, only the Bundesliga bottom team Darmstadt 98 collected fewer points with nine points in this period . A “relegation place” in this quite meaningful interim balance. Is it really just that “little bit of luck” that we keep talking about?

“You have to be very careful”

The fact that the alarm bells are not yet ringing in Wolfsburg is less due to their own class than to the fact that the trio at the bottom of the table – Darmstadt, Mainz and Cologne – have scored exceptionally poorly so far. An eight-point lead over the relegation zone doesn’t cause panic at VfL, although Kovac says: “It’s a deceptive story, you have to be very careful. We also have to look backwards.”

And so VfL continues to make its way through the season. With the hope of somehow getting through this unscathed. Preferably with Niko Kovac in the coaching bench. Who actually no longer has a future there, without a party having already said so.

2024-02-26 17:10:59
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