Wolfsburg – It has been five years since VfL Wolfsburg last qualified for Europe and after eight games of the season, it looked like their fans were going to have to wait at least another twelve months before being able to taste any continental fare again.

A surge up the table ensued and the Wolves roared into the top five, clinching a berth in next year's UEFA Europa League in the process. bundesliga.com takes a closer look…

Since winning the title in 2009, VfL Wolfsburg have struggled to scale such heights again, but that was all meant to change with Dieter Hecking at the helm in 2013/14. Although they did not ultimately make the UEFA Champions League – their secret ambition for the season – a return to Europe was duly secured, with hopes of it being the top table kept alive until the final few minutes of the campaign. With a rejuvenated , the emergence of and the return to the Bundesliga of , they found the right ingredients to pack a punch at the summit with a blend that augurs well for an even stronger assault next season.

Many thought his best was behind him, but Croatian international Olic had other ideas in 2013/14. At the ripe old age of 34, the former FC Bayern München hitman showed some of his best form since helping the Bavarians to the Champions League final in 2010. Indeed, last term was Olic's most prolific since 2007/08, when he also netted 14 times for Hamburger SV. As a result, he was rewarded with a new contract and will lead the Wolves' assault on the Europa League next term.

Wolfsburg ended the season with their second highest tally of points ever in the Bundesliga (60). Only when they won the title in 2009 did they pick up more (69), and a haul of 13 points from the final five matches kept alive their hopes of Champions League football right to the very end of the final game of the season. They recovered from being 1-0 down on seven occasions to pick up 17 of those points, which were evenly spread between the first and the second halves of the season.

"You know, that stumbling Olic is really good – that's just the way I like him." Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking took exception to criticism of his Croatian striker's style after a 2-1 win in Stuttgart on Matchday 33. Ivica Olic scored the winner deep in stoppage time to keep the Wolves' hopes alive of qualifying for the Champions League.

Followers of Wolfsburg would hardly recall it as a highlight, but a 2-0 defeat at home to Eintracht Braunschweig on Matchday 8 proved to be the spark they needed to climb the table. That defeat at home to their local rivals was the last game Wolfsburg lost in 2013. They won their next four – even beating Borussia Dortmund – before coming unstuck again at the start of the second half of the season against another local rival in Hannover 96.