A brace from second-half substitute Bas Dost was enough for VfL Wolfsburg to claim a 2-0 victory over Hertha Berlin at Volkswagen Arena on Saturday.
VfL Wolfsburg 2 Hertha Berlin 0
First half ends goalless
Dost scores soon after coming on
Dost adds a second from the penalty spot
The first half finished goalless as neither side was able to carve out many clear-cut opportunities, though last season’s runners-up probably had the better of the chances.
Die Wolfe were pushing harder for a breakthrough in the second half and had a couple of efforts at goal, but clearly something needed to change, hence the 70th-minute introduction of Dutch striker Bas Dost for Nicklas Bendtner.
Dost got straight into the action and, after an off-target header soon after his introduction, he broke the deadlock from close range in the 77th minute.
The Netherlands international then stepped up to the spot when Fabian Lustenberger brought down Julian Draxler in the penalty box, and calmly buried the penalty to seal the win.
Wolfsburg entered the match with momentum from their midweek win over CSKA Moscow in the Champions League. Julian Draxler, their new signing from Schalke, scored the goal against the Russians and set up an opportunity for Nicklas Bendtner in the eighth minute, but the Danish striker flashed his effort just wide.
A couple of minutes before that Hertha got their first real chance through Genki Haraguchi, who latched onto a headed pass from Valentin Stocker, but his effort from the right-hand side of the box missed at the near post.
The opening half-hour proved to be quite a scrappy affair, and Die Wolfe were getting frustrated, with Caligiuri missing a chance at the near post after being fed by Naldo.
With halftime approaching Hertha suffered an injury blow when defender Sebastian Langkamp needed to come off, with Niklas Stark replacing him just before the first half ended 0-0.
Both sides were pushing for an opener in the early stages of the second half. Vedad Ibisevic saw his header go out for a goal kick before Christian Träsch blasted an effort off target.
Wolfsburg made a switch on the half-hour mark with Andre Schurrle making way for Maximilian Arnold, and Bas Dost came on a few minutes later for Bendtner.
Arnold took little time to settle in as the substitute had an effort off-target moments after coming on, before Caligiuri and Draxler both forced goalkeeper Rune Jarstein into action.
Dost looked to impose himself straight away and had a header off-target just a minute after coming on. A few minutes later and the Dutch striker put his team in the lead from close range.
Dost then doubled their advantage 10 minutes later with his second of the game. Fabian Lustenberger fouled Draxler in the area, and Dost stepped up to slot it home from the spot.