An opportunistic strike from Joao Victor was cancelled out in the second period by three goals by KAA Gent, whose counter-attacking performance saw them clinch a 3-1 victory and take all three points at the Volkswagen Arena.
VfL head coach Oliver Glasner made three changes to the team that lost 3-0 in Dortmund, bringing in Robin Knoche for John Brooks, and Renato Steffen and Josip Brekalo for Jerome Roussillon and Lukas Nmecha, who both dropped to the bench. Felix Klaus, who made a 25-minute cameo appearance at the weekend, was also named among the substitutes.
Victor breaks deadlock
The Wolves attacked from the outset, and created a glorious opportunity for Brekalo after just five minutes, but the Croatian could not keep his powerful shot under the bar. Subsequently, the home side – with Maximillian Arnold and Brekalo looking particularly determined – took control of the match, dominating possession and fashioning half-chances for Josuha Guilavogui and Joao Victor. The Brazilian did not have long to wait to get on the scoreboard, however, as he pounced on Arnold’s brave knock-down in the box to slam the ball into the net after 20 minutes.
The Belgian visitors, who currently sit third in their national standings, attempted to find a way back into the match, but the home rearguard were in a miserly mood in the first half, restricting their opponents to just a couple of long-range efforts.
The fans had barely retaken their seats when Gent conjured up an equaliser out of nothing, Roman Yaremchuk striking a powerful volley past Pavao Pervan. VfL’s heads did not go down, however, and they went on the hunt for a second goal, which first Wout Weghorst and then Victor came close to providing.
But a second sucker-punch was to come: from a corner on the left, Laurent Depoitre met the ball with a firm right-footed volley to give his team an unexpected lead. Glasner threw on Yunus Malli and Nmecha to add some guile and pace to the Green-and-Whites’ attack, but they were undone at the back for a third time when Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui rose to glance a header past Pervan in the 76th minute, effectively sealing the victory for the visitors.
VfL Wolfsburg: Pervan – Knoche (Klaus 81’), Tisserand, Bruma – William, Guilavogui (c), Arnold (Nmecha 70’), Steffen – Brekalo (Malli 66’), Weghorst, Victor
KAA Gent: Kaminski – Lustig, Plastun, Ngadeu-Ngadjui, Asare – Owusu, Kums, David, Odjidja-Ofoe (c) – Depoitre (Kvilitaia 90’), Yaremchuk (Castro-Montes 81’)
Goals: Victor (20’), Yaremchuk (50’), Depoitre (65’), Ngadeu-Ngadjui (76’)
Yellow cards: Steffen, Arnold, Knoche / Asare, Plastun
Referee: Massimiliano Irrati (Italy)