VfL Wolfsburg picked up a point in their opening UEFA Champions League match of the season, with Mark van Bommel’s team kicking off their Group G campaign with a goalless draw away to OSC Lille. The hosts dictated play and were the more dangerous of the two teams, but were unable to make the most of the extra man they had after John Anthony Brooks was sent off for his second yellow card (64’), while Koen Casteels was on absolutely top form, enabling his side to keep a clean sheet.
The Wolves will be at home to Spanish side Sevilla in the second Champions League group game, which will kick off at 21:00 CEST on Wednesday 29 September at the Volkswagen Arena. This coming Sunday, 19 September, there is another home match, this time against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga (kick-off: 19:30 CEST).
Van Bommel made four changes from the team which had defeated SpVgg Greuther Fürth 2-0 away in the league at the weekend. Sebastiaan Bornauw, Yannick Gerhardt, Luca Waldschmidt and Lukas Nmecha made way for Brooks, Jerome Roussillon, Kevin Mbabu and Renato Steffen. His LOSC counterpart Jocelyn Gourvennec made two changes to the side which had gone down 2-1 away to Lorient last time out in Ligue 1, with Zeki Celik and Jonathan David coming in for Tiago Djalo and Yusuf Yazici for the reigning French champions.
What the coach said
Mark van Bommel: “I can sum it up in bullet points. Champions League. Away. Thirty-five minutes down to ten men. We didn’t manage to create many chances. The last ball or the one before it weren’t great and we didn’t manage to maintain possession. And if you can’t win the match, then the next best thing is to keep a clean sheet. And then when you throw a red card into the mix and have to play almost 35 minutes with ten men, and you come away with a point from the French league winners – regardless of how well they are playing at the moment – then you have to be pleased with your evening’s work in the Champions League.
“Even if they didn’t manage to create any chances, they are still a team where you look at them on the other side of the pitch and say: hey, they’re not an easy side to get past. Koen was absolutely brilliant as well. The way he kept that effort from Yilmaz out and how calm he remained throughout the match. And the team knows that we have an incredible goalie who’s there to put out the fire when we need him.”
Line-ups and stats
OSC Lille: Grbic – Celik, Fonte, Botman, Reinaldo – David, Andre, Xeka (83‘ Onana), Ikone (74‘ Lihadji) – Gomes (74‘ Yazici), Yilmaz
Subs: Leo Cesar (GK), Tiago Djalo, Gudmundsson, Niasse, Ascone
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Mbabu, Lacroix, Brooks, Roussillon (84’ Gerhardt) – Guilavogui, Arnold, Baku (61’ Lukebakio), Philipp (66’ Bornauw), Steffen (61’ Waldschmidt) – Weghorst (66’ L. Nmecha)
Subs: Pervan (GK), Klinger (GK), van de Ven, Vranckx, F. Nmecha, Ginczek
Yellow cards: Andre, Ikone / Guilavogui, Waldschmidt, L. Nmecha, Lacroix, van Bommel
Red card: Brooks (63‘)
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
Attendance: 34,314 at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille