German side VFL Wolfsburg created new club history this mid-week after their victory over Gent sent them into the quarter-final of the Champions League for the first time in their club’s history.
The first leg of this tie ended in a thrilling 3-2 win for the German outfit after a late comeback from Gent. But a solitary goal by Andre Schurrle was enough for them to move into the next round 4-2 on aggregate.
Gent played well in parts, and looked solid, by and large, but they struggled to create chances away from home and paid for it with a loss at the Volkswagen Arena on Tuesday.
Before the game, Gent coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck said his side would need a “miracle”, but they lacked the attacking quality to fashion clear-cut chances.
The Belgian champions beat Valencia, Lyon and Zenit St Petersburg to qualify for the group stage, but they never threatened to repeat a similar performance here.
Wolfsburg are down in seventh in the Bundesliga but have impressively overcome their domestic struggles to reach the last eight in what is only their second Champions League campaign.
Schurrle netted from Julian Draxler’s assist in the closing stages of a low-key second leg to seal a victory and send his team into the next round of the competition.
The match became increasingly tactical as the opening period progressed, with the onus on Gent who had to score to goals to have a chance in this game.
After the break, the Belgian champions could not deal with a Ricardo Rodriguez corner and Sels had to react quickly to save Luiz Gustavo’s snapshot.
Gent had to find two goals to progress and Casteels comfortably stopped an effort from substitute Kalifa Coulibaly, who had netted in the first leg, but the attacking fight-back never arrived.
Star striker Laurent Depoitre was only fit for the substitutes’ bench and they struggled to penetrate the hosts’ defense throughout the game.
It was Wolfsburg who were more likely to find a second goal in the final minutes, with Kruse having an effort blocked while Sels denied Christian Trasch and substitute Vieirinha in a comfortable win for the hosts.
The 25-year old spoke after the game and explained that it was a great moment that he was waiting for a couple of years.
“This is a great win for us,” Schuerrle told reporters. “I knew my time would come at some point.
“It was a tough match. We wanted to defend well and wait for our chances. In the end, the win was deserved.”
However, Dieter Hecking’s Wolfsburg side have dropped to seventh in the Bundesliga after a disappointing sequence of one win in nine games.
They did not look comfortable before the start of the game but deserved the victory on the night for some hard work and gritty football.
The Belgian champions on the other end had a strong campaign until this week and are now dumped out of the competition.
The return legs continue Wednesday when Paris Saint-Germain defend a 2-1 lead at Chelsea and Benfica take a 1-0 advantage to Zenit St Petersburg.