Guilavogui im Zweikampf.
01.10.2020
First Team

European dream ended

The Wolves miss out on the UEFA Europa League group stage following a 2-1 defeat to AEK Athens.

Guilavogui im Zweikampf.

VfL Wolfsburg led courtesy of Admir Mehmedi’s goal on the stroke of half-time, but André Simoes levelled the score before Karim Ansarifard struck deep into stoppage time to break Green-and-Whites hearts in their play-off tie in the Greek capital. Oliver Glasner’s charges will need to recover quickly, though, as they host FC Augsburg in the Bundesliga on Sunday 4 October (kick-off 15:30 CEST).

Much-changed line-up

Glasner once again rotated his squad, making six changes from Sunday’s 1-1 draw at SC Freiburg. Maxence Lacroix, Jérôme Roussillon, Xaver Schlager, Mehmedi, Renato Steffen and Wout Weghorst came in for John Brooks, Felix Klaus, Yannick Gerhardt, Daniel Ginczek (all bench), Joao Victor (injured) and Yunus Malli (not in the squad). Pavao Pervan continued to deputise for Koen Casteels in goal.

Mehmedi scores with last kick 

The Wolves had the majority of the possession early on and Paulo Otavio had the first goalscoring opportunity when a defensive error presented him with the ball in the penalty area, but his effort under pressure was blocked by AEK goalkeeper Panagiotis Tsintotas. The home side came into the game more after that and were awarded a penalty in the 18th minute when Schlager tripped Nenad Krsticic from a free-kick. However, Pervan went the right way and kept out Petros Mantalos’ low spot-kick towards the left corner.

The game became rather scrappy after that, with Maximilian Arnold’s long-range strike the only notable attempt on target. But with just seconds left of the first half, the Wolves broke the deadlock when Mehmedi finished off a flowing move with a measured low shot into the bottom corner.

Xaver Schlager im Zweikampf im Spiel gegen AEK Athen.

Last-gasp heartbreak

VfL began the second period comfortably enough and even had a couple of half-chances to extend their lead, Mehmedi testing Tsintotas from long range and Josip Brekalo’s shot being deflected agonisingly wide. Having threatened little, the hosts then drew level in the 64th minute through an impressive long-range strike from Simoes, which gave Pervan no chance.

The equaliser lifted AEK and they could have gone in front in the 83rd minute when a long ball found Yevhen Shakhov free with only Pervan to beat, but he couldn’t wrap his foot around the volley. At the other end, Arnold’s long-distance free-kick was pushed behind by Tsintotas. With the match heading for extra time, AEK snatched a winner on the counter as substitute Ansarifard got the better of Lacroix before rolling the ball past Pervan.

AEK Athens: Tsintotas - Vassilantonopoulos, Svarnas, Chygrynskyy, Insua - Krsticic, Shakhov, André Simoes - L. Garcia (Macheras 82’), Nelson Oliveira (Ansarifard 87’), Mantalos (Livaja 63’)
 
VfL Wolfsburg: Pervan - Roussillon, Lacroix, Guilavogui, Otavio - Schlager (Gerhardt 61’), Arnold - Steffen, Mehmedi, Brekalo (Bialek 79’) - Weghorst

Goals: Mehmedi 0-1 (45+1’), André Simoes 1-1 (64’), Ansarifard 2-1 (90+4’)

Yellow cards: Insua, André Simoes, Livaja / Schlager, Lacroix, Glasner

Referee: Artur Dias (Portugal)

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