Timing, they say, is everything and VfL Wolfsburg certainly appear to hold faith in that maxim.
At home to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 25, Dieter Hecking’s men struck decisively, scoring twice in as many minutes early in the first half to stun their visitors and pave the way for a vital 2-1 victory.
The win lifted the Wolves to seventh , now just four points adrift of the UEFA Champions League qualifying place currently occupied by FC Schalke 04. And for a side that has been outside the top four since just before the winter break, a return to within touching distance of that coveted fourth spot going into the season finale came as a great relief.
“It’s a very nice feeling to have picked up three points against a direct rival for the European places,” said Julian Draxler, who opened the scoring in the 15th minute. “In terms of our league position it’s also important that we climbed closer to the top and now we need to keep going. We were well prepared to face Gladbach. The fact we knew what they’d be doing tactically helped us. We had to give our all in order to see the result over the line.”
‘We can still improve’
Draxler, incidentally, seems to be a lucky charm for the club: whenever he has scored, Wolfsburg have not lost. “I didn’t actually know that,” said the 22-year-old. “But it’s true. I can’t think of a game that I’ve scored in and that we’ve gone on to lose. That’s nice, but obviously the whole team deserves credit. I’m happy things are going so well at the moment and that the points stayed here.”
Things are indeed going very well for Wolfsburg at present. Saturday’s triumph was only the second time this season that they have managed to win two consecutive league games, taking their tally to ten points from the last 15 available. “This game gives us courage going into our upcoming tasks,” continued Draxler. “We showed a lot of commitment and that’s a positive going into the next few weeks, even if we can still improve.”
Champions League quarter finals in sight
Beating Gladbach also set the Wolves up nicely ahead of the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie at home to KAA Gent on Tuesday. Having won 3-2 away in the first leg in mid-February, Wolfsburg are in pole position to progress to the next round.
“We can make history and reach the quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s history,” added Draxler. “We’ll approach the game as we would any other: we want to win it.” And with Draxler and the Wolves coming good just when it matters most, you would not want to bet against them.