VfL Wolfsburg were unable to stay in pole position for a place in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds after losing 2-0 away to PSV Eindhoven in Group B on Tuesday.
Goals: 1-0 Locadia (55’), 2-0 de Jong (85’)
Both sides began cautiously, laying their focus on defensive organisation in the opening 20 minutes as they sounded each other out. Gradually they began to take more risks going forward, but neither managed to create any clear-cut openings in a hard-fought encounter. The closest Wolfsburg went to scoring was from a Ricardo Rodriguez free-kick, but his effort flew harmlessly over the bar and the teams went in level at the break.
The hosts were far more adventurous after the interval and soon took the lead when Jürgen Locadia rifled past Diego Benaglio at his near post. PSV subsequently sat back and invited Wolfsburg forward, content to break forward on the counter. Dieter Hecking brought on Vieirinha, Julian Draxler and Nicklas Bendtner in an effort to refresh his attack, but it was PSV who found the net again, with Luuk de Jong lobbing Benaglio late on to seal the points.
Man of the match
Wolfsburg were not at their expansive best here and much of their build-up play was too slow to cause PSV problems. However, one player who did threaten the hosts’ backline whenever he got on the ball was Daniel Caligiuri, who constantly sought to beat his man and make things happen.
While Wolfsburg undoubtedly have an array of talent up front, including Draxler, Caligiuri, Andre Schürrle and Bas Dost, here Max Kruse’s absence was keenly felt. The Germany international, currently injured, pulls the strings in the Wolves’ attack, linking up the play and finding space around the box.
- Wolfsburg had 55 per cent of possession over the 90 minutes.
- Luiz Gustavo and Naldo had more touches (70) than any other player on the pitch.
- The Wolves had 11 shots on goal to PSV's eight.
PSV: Zoet – Arias, Bruma, Moreno, Brenet – Pröpper, Guardado – Narsingh (Pereiro 83’), Maher (Hendrix 75’), Locadia (Isimat-Mirin 75’) – de Jong
Wolfsburg: Benaglio – Jung, Naldo, Klose, Rodriguez – Luiz Gustavo, Guilavogui (Draxler 69’) – Caligiuri, Arnold, Schürrle (Vieirinha 65’) – Dost (Bendtner 68’)