Wolfsburg - VfL Wolfsburg made a triumphant return to the UEFA Champions League by beating Russian Premier League leaders PFC CSKA Moskva 1-0 in Group B on Tuesday evening thanks to Julian Draxler's first goal for the club.
VfL Wolfsburg 1-0 PFC CSKA Moskva
1-0 Draxler (40')
Despite not having played in the competition for over five years, Wolfsburg began as if they had never been away and took the initiative from the off. Daniel Caligiuri and Christian Träsch linked up well on the right, Andre Schürrle and Bas Dost missing good early chances. Julian Draxler showed them how it was done in the 40th minute, prodding in his first goal for the Wolves on the rebound after his initial header had been saved.
The visitors were more adventurous after the break but never seriously troubled Diego Benaglio in the Wolfsburg goal. Indeed, the hosts looked far more likely to add to the scoreline, and would have done so with better finishing from Schürrle and substitute Nicklas Bendtner. It mattered little in the end, however, as Wolfsburg were able to see the result over the line to collect three crucial points.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Wolves coach Dieter Hecking fielded an unusually attacking line-up at the Volkswagen Arena, sacrificing a customary second holding midfielder to allow Max Kruse to play alongside Dost up front. As such, the importance of Luiz Gustavo’s performance in defensive midfield cannot be overstated. The Brazilian was an outstanding shield for the back four, winning 74 per cent of all challenges and distributing the ball quickly and efficiently to help launch attacks.
It was an evening of firsts in Wolfsburg. Caligiuri, Kruse, Dost, Ricardo Rodriguez and Maximilian Arnold all made their Champions League debuts, while it was also Hecking’s first experience of the tournament as a coach. Furthermore, the club invited 1,200 refugees to the game to sample the competition first hand.
- Aged 21 years and 360 days, Draxler is the youngest player ever to have scored in the Champions League for Wolfsburg.
- Wolfsburg had 19 shots on goal compared to CSKA’s eight.
- Draxler had more touches of the ball (95) than any other player on the pitch.
Wolfsburg: Benaglio – Träsch, Naldo, Dante, Rodriguez – Gustavo – Caligiuri (Guilavogui 85’), Draxler, Schürrle (Arnold 76’) – Kruse, Dost (Bendtner 46’)
CSKA: Akinfeev – Fernandes, Ignashevich, Berezutskiy, Shchennikov – Dzagoev, Wernbloom, Natcho (Doumbia 65’), Tosic (Milanov 78’) – Musa, Eremenko