Wolfsburg off to winning ways
Wolfsburg got the defence of their Bundesliga crown off to a winning start with a convincing victory over Stuttgart tonight.
The Wolves carried on from where they left off last season with some enterprising football to suggest they could again be the team to beat in Germany this season.
New Wolfsburg coach Veh made just one change from the side preferred by his predecessor Felix Magath last season with Karim Ziani starting in the midfield behind Edin Dzeko and Grafite. Striker Obafemi Martins, signed from Newcastle, started on the bench.
Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel awarded Alexander Hleb and Pavel Pogrebnyak immediate debuts in his starting XI less than a week after the pair joined the club.
Pogrebnyak was certainly not lacking in fitness having joined from Russian outfit Zenit St Petersburg, who are midway through their season, and he looked lively early on.
His cross provided the first chance of the game for Sami Khedira, whose header was saved by Diego Benaglio with the aid of the inside of his post in the 16th minute.
Dzeko and Grafite scored a league record 54 goals between them last season and both had chances to open their accounts for the new campaign in the first half, but Stuttgart goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was in fine form to deny them.
The 39-year-old first tipped a shot from Dzeko over the crossbar before making another instinctive save to deny Grafite in a one-on-one situation 10 minutes before the break.
The Stuttgart goalkeeper, though, could do nothing to stop Misimovic's well-placed shot which put the home side in front in the 71st minute.
Just days after committing himself to a new, long-term contract with the club, Misimovic shifted the ball onto his left foot and picked his spot with precision from the edge of the penalty area.
Elson tested Benaglio with a long-range effort that the Wolfsburg goalkeeper needed two attempts to save, but it was not long before the 2007 champions found themselves two behind.
Last season's top-scorer Grafite skipped inside passed Tasci before stroking the ball inside Lehmann's near post with the inside of his foot.
Dzeko almost got on the scoresheet with five minutes remaining only for Lehmann to again deny him, but the Wolves were already home and dry.