July 21, 2017

Niklas Bendtner: “The Lord’s” Time at Wolfsburg

Niklas Bendtner, even just saying his name alone is enough to make Arsenal and Juventus fans squirm in their seats. With the winter transfer window soon coming to a close and Crystal Palace, Newcastle United and Hull City all recently linked with a move for the striker and Wolfsburg seemingly willing to listen to offers it appears increasing likely that “Lord Bendtner” will be back plying his trade in England sooner rather than later.

His time in Germany has not gone as smoothly as he had hoped and in all honesty it seemed doomed to fail from the very first day with the club not exactly welcoming him with open arms.  Coach Dieter Hecking told Kicker of Bendtner’s arrival ‘We dared to touch the top shelf of players, It’s empty now though, so we needed to look a bit further down.’ Not exactly a first-rate endorsement.

In the year and a half Bendtner has been with VfL Wolfsburg he has made 44 appearances and scored 9 goals, but has only started in 10 of those games. The Danish international has spent most of his time on the bench playing back up to Dutch Striker Bas Dost and German international Max Kruse. It says a lot about Bendtner’s current situation at Wolfsburg that even with Dost out of action with a broken bone in his foot Hecking would rather play an extra attacking midfielder than start the Danish international.

When he has managed to get onto the field he hasn’t exactly done much to prove Hecking wrong, his performances in general have been lazy, error-strewn, disjointed (something Arsenal fans will no doubt be nodding their heads in agreement with) and his general style of play just doesn’t seem to fit in with Wolfsburg’s team-first mentality.

One thing that has seemed to have changed since Bendtner moved to Germany is his indiscipline. In his time at Wolfsburg there have been no real signs of his infamous temperament which once led to him having an altercation in Copenhagen in March 2014, reportedly telling a taxi driver that “if he was not so famous, he would have smacked him” and calling him a “little fat pig” before dropping his pants and rubbing his ehm “Lordship” on the taxi.

There were however a few bright moments on the field for the 28-year-old, most notably at the beginning of the current season where he scored a late equalizer against German champions Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup. He then scored again in the penalty shoot-out as Wolfsburg claimed the first piece of silverware in the season opening showpiece event.

Bendtner recently told the German sports magazine 11 Freunde “After I scored in the Super Cup, I thought: this is going to be my season! But then suddenly I was back on the bench. It was frustrating.”

His relationship with Hecking has also not seemed to have improved in the last 18 months, with the Wolfsburg coach coming out and admitting that “If Nicklas came to me and said he wanted to leave the club, then we would all sit down and discuss it.”

With Denmark having failed to qualify for the European Championships in France this summer it isn’t urgent that Bendtner find first team football and move away from the Volkswagen area, however it seems no matter what happens during this transfer window his time at VfL Wolfsburg will come to an end sooner rather than later.

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Part time football writer - From Bray, County Wicklow Ireland You can follow me on twitter - @jay_walker_83