Lille - Ten-man VfL Wolfsburg wrapped up an outstanding week for Bundesliga clubs in European competition by becoming the sixth German side to reach the knockout stages thanks to a 3-0 victory away to LOSC Lille in UEFA Europa League Group H on Thursday evening.

Vieirinha grabbed the opener shortly before the break to give Wolfsburg a somewhat flattering half-time lead and although Josuha Guilavogui was sent off in the second period, Ricardo Rodriguez scored twice in the final 25 minutes to secure the win.

Wolfsburg clinical

The hosts were three points behind Wolfsburg going into the tie and needed a victory to send them into the Round of 32 at their visitors’ expense, as that would give them a better head-to-head record. As such, they belied their recent form of having failed to win in their last 12 competitive games, and pinned the Wolves back for much of the first half.

They should have taken the lead too, as they carved out a number of promising chances, the best of which fell to Idrissa Gueye, who headed against the post from Ryan Mendes’ right-wing cross. Encouraged, the French outfit became increasingly confident and were soon testing Wolves keeper Diego Benaglio from a variety of angles, with the Swiss custodian forced into a smart save from former VfL defender Simon Kjaer, who headed a corner straight at him.

Guilavogui sees red

Yet it was the guests who went in front against the run of play with their first meaningful attack on the stroke of half time. Superb interplay between Kevin De Bruyne and Ivan Perisic on the edge of the area led to the latter crossing from the left and finding Vieirinha, who prodded Wolfsburg in front from close range. However, any hopes that the goal might inspire Dieter Hecking’s men to an improved second-half display were misplaced as they remained sluggish and disjointed after the break.

To make matters worse, defensive midfielder Guilavogui was sent off for a second bookable offence early in the second period. However, the complexion of the game changed once more ten minutes later when Rodriguez curled in a delightful free-kick from 25-yards out after De Bruyne had been fouled. Lille had an opportunity to get a foothold in the game when Robin Knoche’s clumsy challenge brought down Ronny Rodelin inside the box, but Benaglio was equal to Divock Origi’s penalty. Rodriguez showed him how it was done moments later, calmly tucking his spot-kick away following a handball to ensure Wolfsburg’s name is in the Round of 32 draw next week.


Lille: Enyeama - Sidibe, Kjaer, Basa, Souare - Mavuba - Corchia (Rodelin 67’), Gueye (Meite 83’), Balmont - Origi, Mendes (Roux 67’)

Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Jung, Naldo, Knoche, Rodriguez - Gustavo, Guilavogui - Vieirinha (Malanda 58’), De Bruyne (Caligiuri 85’), Perisic - Olic (Dost 46’)

Goals: 0-1 (Vieirinha 45+1’), 0-2 (Rodriguez 65’), 0-3 (Rodriguez, P. 89’)

Red card: Guilavogui (55’)