VfL have played 16 Champions League matches to date, with at least another six to come. Looking back at the Green-and-Whites’ debut in Europe’s foremost club competition, one of the first names that comes to mind is Grafite. In a brief interview, the 42-year-old VfL brand ambassador and 2009 Bundesliga top-scorer spoke about that debut season, his hopes and expectations as he watches on this time around from the other side of the world, having been in Rio de Janeiro with his family for the past three years, and the interest that the Green-and-Whites generate in Brazil.
Grafite, in Wolfsburg everyone is really looking forward to the Champions League. You played a major role in the VfL team that took part in that competition for the first time back in 2009. Can you remember all the opponents?
Grafite: “Of course I can! Manchester United, CSKA Moscow and Besiktas. I can remember every match that I played in. Unfortunately there were only four, because I was provoked during the home game against Besiktas and got my marching orders. The ban meant that I was only back for the last match against Manchester United, that we lost 3-1 thanks to three goals from Michael Owen, and that meant that we didn’t get through. Despite that, it was a great experience, getting to play against the best in Europe. And then we got to carry on in the Europa League.”