In his third game on loan with Wolfsburg, and his first under a new manager, Divock Origi scored his first Bundesliga goal on Tuesday night.
Origi made his third consecutive start for the Lower Saxony outfit against Werder Bremen, as Martin Schmidt kicked off his reign at the Volkswagen Arena.
The Swiss manager took over from the departing Andries Jonker on Monday, sparking fears of the regime change affecting Origi’s opportunities while on loan.
But the Belgian led the line in Schmidt’s inaugural starting lineup at Wolfsburg, with Paul-Georges Ntep, Daniel Didavi and Yunus Malli supporting in a 4-2-3-1 setup.
With Mario Gomez ruled out with an ankle injury, and Wolfsburg’s reserve options being 20-year-old Landry Dimata and 18-year-old Victor Osimhen, the pressure is on Origi to perform.
And it took the on-loan Reds striker just 28 minutes to put his side ahead against Bremen, racing onto Ntep’s sweeping cross to convert from close range.
Origi played the full 90 minutes, and will have been disappointed to not find the back of the net again.
Only Malli (five) fired more shots on goal than the 22-year-old (four), and no player found the target more than Origi (three).
Unfortunately, Bremen equalised in the second half through Fin Bartels, with Origi yet to taste victory with his loan club.
Origi joined Wolfsburg in search of a “new challenge,” with a view to returning to the fold for Liverpool in the future.
“I see the chance for me to develop further here,” he said at the beginning of September.
“I like football, so I know the Bundesliga and Wolfsburg. I love this competition and I am really looking forward to playing in the Bundesliga.”
With draws against Bremen and Hannover 96, and a 1-0 loss to VfL Stuttgart, the German top flight has already presented Origi with a series of challenges.
Most importantly, perhaps, is the task of ensuring he remains a key part of Schmidt’s plans, with the former Mainz 05 manager a major proponent of hard work and fast-paced attacks.
Given his upbringing under Jurgen Klopp, this should be a simple transition for Origi—and, arguably, a better primer for his future at Anfield.
Breaking his Bundesliga duck will be hugely encouraging, too, and Wolfsburg’s No. 14 can now target a continued run of goals as he looks to push his side up the table under Schmidt.