Xizhe Zhang (front) enjoyed his debut for Wolfsburg as they got off to winning ways in 2015 with victory over Ajax Cape Town
Xizhe Zhang (front) enjoyed his debut for Wolfsburg as they got off to winning ways in 2015 with victory over Ajax Cape Town
Bundesliga

Zhang makes convincing debut in Wolfsburg friendly win

Cape Town - VfL Wolfsburg gave their fans a first glimpse of winter recruit Xizhe Zhang on Wednesday as the Chinese international came off the bench in the Wolves’ confident 4-1 victory against Ajax Cape Town in the Friendship Cup.

A sign of things to come

The 23-year-old’s eagerly anticipated debut came just four days after the club were rocked by the

tragic passing

of promising Belgian international Junior Malanda, as his team-mates honoured the 20-year-old’s memory by making a winning start to the new calendar year.

Zhang entered the fray at half time with Wolfsburg boasting a 2-1 lead and demonstrated moments of quality, providing the assist for

Bas Dost

’s second goal of the evening, to give the Wolfsburg faithful a taste of what may be to come. It’s no less than head coach Dieter Hecking could have expected of his star signing, who appears to be wasting little time settling into his new surroundings.

In the build-up to the trip to South Africa, Hecking had stated that the first few days in the countries’ second-largest metropolis would be predominantly focused on the tactical nuances of Wolfsburg’s style of play, and against Ajax he spotted areas which could be improved upon. "In the first half we let too much through defensively," said the former 1. FC Nürnberg boss. "Later the team did a much better job, kept it simple and let the ball do the work. Taking into account all the circumstances I'm very satisfied with our performance."

Benaglio returns

There was good news for the 50-year-old as No1 goalkeeper

Diego Benaglio

took part in individual training having previously been bed-ridden due to a stomach virus. Hecking now has a 25-man squad at his disposal with his side already approaching the halfway stage of their winter training camp.