Vieirinha picked the ideal moment to score his first goal in almost 18 months as Wolfsburg sealed Bundesliga survival with a 2-0 aggregate victory over Eintracht Braunschweig in the relegation play-off.
Leading 1-0 from last Thursday’s first leg – a win given to them by Mario Gomez’s penalty – Wolfsburg battled to triumph by the same margin away to 10-man Braunschweig on Monday and preserve their top-flight status.
Vieirinha’s last goal had come in the Champions League against Manchester United back in December 2015 but he scored an impressive winner early in the second half, before Maximilian Sauer was sent off for the hosts late on.
After winning over two legs having surprisingly come close to the drop, Andries Jonker’s side keep their place in the Bundesliga, a division in which they finished runners-up just two seasons ago.
— VfL Wolfsburg EN (@VfLWolfsburg_EN) May 29, 2017
Braunschweig had squandered a great early chance when Christoffer Nyman saw his scuffed shot saved by Koen Casteels after good work from Sauer to create the opportunity.
Wolfsburg did not threaten until Yannick Gerhardt’s effort from a tight angle was kept out by home keeper Jasmin Fejzic.
Braunschweig again failed to take advantage of an opportunity to draw level in the tie when Ken Reichel raced clear down the left after a fast break and collected Nyman’s pass, only to blaze over.
Wolfsburg’s goal was spectacular, arriving after 49 minutes. Yunus Malli collected a pass from Christian Trasch and weaved towards goal, where his shot was pushed away by Fejzic, with Vieirinha smashing in an emphatic strike on the rebound from the edge of the box.
That meant Braunschweig needed three goals for promotion and although Reichel shot over with another good chance, this time set up by Onel Hernandez, the sting had been taken out of the hosts’ play.
And any faint hopes of a comeback came to an end with eight minutes remaining, when Sauer saw red after picking up a second booking for pushing down Gerhardt from behind.
Luiz Gustavo missed a late sitter for Wolfsburg, blazing over from close range after Gomez laid it on a plate for him, but the damage had already been done.
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