In the penultimate friendly before our first competitive match, VfL welcomed Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem to anne Castroper. Vitesse, who finished the 2020/21 Eredivisie season in fourth place, were a strong test in the preperations before our DFB Pokal clash in Wuppertal. After 90 intense minutes, VfL fell to their first defeat of their pre-season preparations. Takuma Asano (76th) scored the equaliser, but goals from Riechedly Bazoer (63rd) and Lois Openda (80th) sealed the win for the Dutch side.
Here’s the live ticker:
7': Feisty start here. No chances on goal for either side yet, but a lot of fierce 50/50s and a few fouls.
12': Good work from Ganvoula, who presses well against the Vitesse defence. He can't get his shot past Houwen in the Vitesse box. The keeper guessed well and saved easily.
17': Osterhage takes a free kick near the halfway line and sends it wide to the far post. There Decarli wants to jump like a kung-fu fighter, but he can't reach it.
20': The same combination again. Another free kick from Osterhage, this time Decarli’s header reaches the far post. But the angle is too acute for danger.
21': The visitors are looking strong on the counter-attack, Openda breaks through and curves around Riemann.
25': Phew, that was close. After a great through ball, Openda is on his way to the goal again, but Lampropoulos puts on good pressure and he goes down easily. Referee, Thorben Siewert, sees no reason for a penalty whistle.
30': Almost the first goal - by Riemann. He sees that his counterpart Houwen is standing a bit far in front of the box and takes the free kick directly from about 60 metres. With the support of the wind, it dangerously dipped and the last minute and former Dresden goalkeeper Schubert has to stretch to deflect it against the crossbar.
45': Shortly before the break, Gamboa catches Domgjoni and gets a yellow card. The ensuing free-kick allows Frederiksen to have a pop on goal, but his shot lands right in Riemann's arms.
Half-time: After a hectic opening half, the action calms down a bit, but it remains intense on both sides. You can see that the first competitive matches are getting closer. Scoring chances were the exception rather than the rule. Three changes were made during the break. Ernst, Bonga and Pantovic come on for Riemann, Gamboa and Leitsch in the second 45.
53': The first sight of goal in the second half, where things have been quieter so far. Doekhi shoots from distance, a good metre over the crossbar.
62': Ernst is called upon for the first time. Tannane shoots, Ernst makes a good save down to his right. Corner.
63': Goal for Vitesse – 0-1. It all comes after VfL failed to clear their lines. The ball is headed out and sits perfectly for ex-Wolfsburg player Bazoer, who hits the volley perfectly and hammers it through the scrum of bodies and into the net. Ernst has no chance here.
66': Another dangerous Vitesse move. Manhoef gets his header to the far post and deflects the ball against the post.
72': Once again, VfL combine on the right. Holtmann tries to cross the ball, which ends up with Losilla. The captain takes a direct shot and just misses the bottom left corner.
76': Goal for VfL – 1-1. The blue and white equalise. Holtmann gets the ball on the left and Zoller misses his low cross, Asano is lurking at the far post and easily taps it in.
80': Goal for Vitesse – 1-2. Strong individual play from Openda. He outwits Bonga and Decarli and then sends the ball into the far corner. Ernst again without a chance.
86': After a corner kick, Vitesse’s penalty area is in trouble twice, but the ball doesn't go in.
88': A failed header almost sets up Asano's second goal, but the Japanese player doesn't get enough momentum behind his overhead kick.
90': Another great opportunity after strong work by Holtmann. His cross finds Zoller, who fails to test the goalkeeper a central position.
Full-time: VfL lose 1-2 against Vitesse Arnhem and will play again on Saturday against FC Utrecht.
Line-up: Riemann (46. Ernst) - Gamboa (46. Bonga), Decarli, Lampropoulos (60. Bella Kotchap), Leitsch (46. Pantovic) - Chibsah (60. Tesche), Masovic (60. Losilla), Osterhage (60. Soares) - Novothny (60. Asano), Ganvoula (60. Zoller), Antwi-Adjei (60. Holtmann)
Goals: 0:1 Bazoer (63.), 1:1 Asano (76.), 1:2 Openda (80.)
Markus Gellhaus: "It was definitely a good test for us today against a very aggressive opponent. That's what we need at the moment: opponents who challenge us and who we have to give everything. Overall, it was a decent performance. But of course, we also saw some things that we still want to improve."
Anthony Losilla: "We didn't have that much energy today, it was a very exhausting week. That's what friendlies are for, to get more fitness. We still have the dress rehearsal on Saturday, so we have to do better. We will continue to work on ourselves and our coordination on the field. We still have a little time left.
Tjark Ernst: "Of course, as a goalkeeper it's not nice to concede two goals. But I'm satisfied with my performance. It was an intense game. The opponents fought for it a lot. The friendly can help us for later games in the league. The defeat is annoying. We will carry on with our preparations and want to do better on Saturday before the competitive matches begin."