Julian Draxler scored twice as VfL Wolfsburg took a big step towards the UEFA Champions League quarter finals after beating KAA Gent 3-2 in their Round of 16 first leg in Belgium.
KAA Gent 2-3 VfL Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg dominated the first half, although Gent midfielder Thomas Foket should have at least made visiting goalkeeper and Champions League debutant Koen Casteels work in the 11th minute. The Wolves carved out the better chances thereafter, with Luiz Gustavo firing over and Stefan Mitrovic almost diverting a Maximilian Arnold cross into his own net. The breakthrough eventually came following a great bit of invention from Draxler, the Germany international turning his marker inside-out, exchanging passes with Vieirinha and calmly slotting into the bottom corner.
It got better for Wolfsburg early in the second half as Draxler pounced on Renato Neto's careless back-pass, raced clear and calmly clipped the ball over advancing Gent goalkeeper Mats Sels. The Wolves made it three courtesy of a fine finish from Max Kruse, who cannoned an effort off the outside of the post moments later. Casteels pushed a deflected effort onto the woodwork, but late goals from Gent captain Sven Kums and substitute Kalifa Coulibaly mean Wolfsburg still have work to do to finish the job on home soil in three weeks' time.
Man of the match
This was Draxler at his best. Gent could not handle his pace and footwork, while both finishes were out of the top drawer.
Gent: Sels - L. Nielsen, Mitrovic, Asare - Renato Neto, Kums (c) - Foket, Simon (Matton 61') - Milicevic (Saief 61'), Dejaegere - Depoitre (Coulibaly 80')
Wolfsburg: Casteels - Jung (Schürrle 45’), Knoche, Dante, Rodriguez - Arnold, Gustavo (c) - Träsch, Draxler, Vieirinha (Schäfer 80') - Kruse (Putaro 90+1')