Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Wolfsburg 1 Gent 0 (4-2 agg): Schurrle strike seals quarter-final spot

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 8 Mar 2016

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Andre Schurrle’s second-half strike moved Wolfsburg into the Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of Gent.

The winger netted from Julian Draxler’s assist in the closing stages of a low-key second leg to seal a 1-0 home victory on Tuesday and a 4-2 aggregate triumph for Dieter Hecking’s men in the last-16 tie.

Having fallen three goals behind in the first leg, two late strikes had given Gent faint hope in the tie, but they never came close to completing the turnaround in Germany. 

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.

Gent, meanwhile, go out after making the knockout stages in what has been a memorable campaign after they had previously never even made it to the group stage.

Wolfsburg, boosted by their first-leg goalscorers Draxler and Max Kruse being passed fit to play, came closest to finding a first-half breakthrough when Josuha Guilavogui’s long-range drive was beaten away by visiting goalkeeper Matz Sels.

Kruse had previously shot just wide after a sharp turn, while the visitors – who were enjoying plenty of possession – saw Danijel Milicevic lash an attempt over and had Moses Simon’s effort easily claimed by Koen Casteels.

The match became increasingly tactical as the opening period progressed, with the onus on Gent, whose star striker Laurent Depoitre was only fit for the substitutes’ bench, to make the running – but they struggled to penetrate the hosts’ defence.

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 fightback never arrived.

The tie was then brought to an end as a contest with 16 minutes to go. Draxler showed great poise down the right to work his way into the box and his precise cut-back was tucked away by Schurrle from eight yards – his second goal of the European campaign.

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.

 

Key Opta stats:

– Wolfsburg have won their last four Champions League games, their best ever run in the competition.
– Gent failed to score in a Champions League game for the first time this season.
– Wolfsburg have only lost one of their seven Champions League home games.
– Wolfsburg have made the Champions League quarter finals for the first time in their history.

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