Cologne - When left Chelsea FC to join VfL Wolfsburg in the winter, he did so in the knowledge he was foregoing the opportunity of playing UEFA Champions League football this spring.

It was a calculated move, however, which the 24-year-old appears to have got spot on.

Relief at first goal


The Blues dropped out of European competition at the first hurdle in 2015, but Schürrle is still very much in the hunt for continental glory this season, while a place in the Champions League next term is as good as secure. A win over Hamburger SV next weekend would cast aside any remaining doubts that the Wolves will be rubbing shoulders with Europe's elite next term, and Schürrle will be there to enjoy it, as he has every second he has spent with the Wolf pack so far.

"We have amazing players who know what to do with the ball and know how to play football," he told bundesliga.com in an exclusive interview at the weekend. "The team are amazing, the fans are amazing, this club's amazing. The fans were waiting for me to score as well, so now I'm really relieved the first one's gone in."

Games left, right and centre


After burying the decisive strike in Matchday 27's 3-1 win at home to VfB Stuttgart, more goals should follow for Schürrle, but coach Dieter Hecking insists Wolfsburg's season does not stop once a top-four finish has been secured. "The table still makes for good reading, as does the gap down to fifth place," he told bundesliga.com. "If we win next week, we'll finish at least fourth, but now we need to secure automatic qualification for the Champions League, so wins like this are important."

The action continues to come thick and fast, with Wolfsburg starting to realise what aiming for success on all fronts entails. There will be no rest in their pursuit of glory, with a DFB Cup quarter-final tie with SC Freiburg on Tuesday followed by a UEFA Europa League last-eight encounter with SSC Napoli the following week.

No rest for the successful


The return leg of that tie is upon them in Naples on 23 April, with a potential DFB Cup semi-final just five days later. After that, the last four of the Europa League sees home and away fixtures staged between 7 and 14 May, which means Wolfsburg's first potential midweek break between now and the end of the Bundesliga season could come between the last two rounds of league fixtures, with a possible 13 games to play in between.

Yet as taxing a schedule it may be, this is the level of competition to which the Wolves and Schürrle are now aspiring, which for sporting director Klaus Allofs is precisely the path he wants the ambitious Lower Saxon club to tread. "We're no longer going to make ourselves out to be smaller than we actually are," he said to sport1.de. "We're now able to measure up to many of the biggest clubs in Europe."

Allofs: 'We have the Champions League in mind'


Ahead of such a mammoth few months, Wolfsburg are going to need to call on all of their remaining reserves of energy, which is why Schürrle's presence is a shot in the arm. With 's purple patch now him, spreading the goals again is crucial to ensuring the Wolves' next rest prior to the summer vacation is in the week commencing 12 May.

"We've certainly built a squad with the Champions League in mind, so it would obviously be nicer if we could be out there proving that already," added Allofs. "Our plan was to get there in two years' time, but by qualifying now, we would have taken the next step earlier. We want to get things moving." All manner of drama can still transpire in the coming weeks, but the Wolves' squad looks readier by the week to compete on multiple fronts, and fans may have already begun to mark two important dates in their diaries: the Europa League final in Warsaw on 27 May, followed by domestic Cup final in Berlin three days later.

Ben Gladwell