VfL Wolfsburg’s European journey is over for another season. In the final Champions League group game on Wednesday evening, Florian Kohfeldt’s men fell 3-1 to OSC Lille, condemning them to a fourth-place finish in Group G and spelling the end of the road as far as Europe is concerned in 2021/22.
Renato Steffen scored the only goal for the Green-and-Whites on the night at the Volkswagen Arena (89’), but it came too late after strikes from Burak Yilmaz (11’), Jonathan David (72’) and Angel Gomes (78’) had already secured the victory for the French league champions.
VfL’s next match comes this Saturday, 11 December (kick-off: 18.30 CET), with VfB Stuttgart making the trip to the Volkswagen Arena.
1-0 Yilmaz (11’): All too easy for the visitors. A VfL corner is cleared and Jonathan Ikone sets off on a counter-attack. He outpaces everyone down the right wing and slides the ball across to the unmarked Yilmaz in the middle, who has all the time in the world to convert the cross and give Lille the lead.
2-0 David (72’): VfL seem to have no answer when Lille hit them on the break. David is fed the ball all alone inside the box, and he keeps his cool and slides it into the back of the net via the inside of the post.
3-0 Gomes (78’): The die is cast. The ever-industrious Ikone finds Gomes this time inside the box, and Casteels is unable to keep out his shot.
3-1 Steffen (89’): The Green-and-Whites have the last word on the night. Maximilian Arnold battles to win back the ball on the edge of the area and it falls to Steffen, who curls it straight into the back of the net.
What the coaches said
Florian Kohfeldt: “It was certainly a tough evening. We’ve been knocked out of the Champions League and in my opinion, we got what we deserved. We’ve put in too many performances in a row that weren’t good enough to pick up any points, and that’s not satisfactory. We all saw that the team struggles with being solid in defence, and we find it hard to create chances other than from set pieces or on the break. What pleases me though is the fact that, despite all the problems we had today, we still managed to carve out some opportunities. What we have to do now is to foster the same kind of team spirit that we had in the early weeks of the season and make sure that we get certain things done between now and Christmas.”
Jocelyn Gourvennec: “Our game plan worked perfectly. After we got an early goal, the opposition were obliged to open up straight away and that certainly helped us a lot. We were solid, compact and kept our cool the way we said we had to before the match. At the end of the day, we could even have scored a few more. Overall, it was a very disciplined performance from my team and a great collective achievement.”
Line-ups and stats
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Mbabu (63‘ Baku), Lacroix, Bornauw, Otavio (63’ Roussillon) – Guilavogui (75’ F. Nmecha), Arnold – Vranckx, Waldschmidt (75’ Steffen), Gerhardt (46’ Lukebakio) – Weghorst
Subs: Pervan (GK), Brooks, van de Ven, Philipp, Ginczek
OSC Lille: Grbic – Celik (83’ Djalo), Fonte, Botman, Reinildo – Ikone (83‘ Yazici), Andre, Sanches, Gudmundsson (68’ Gomes) – David, Yilmaz (74’ Onana)
Subs: Raux (GK), Ascone, Niasse
Goals: 0-1 Yilmaz (11’), 0-2 David (72’), 0-3 Gomes (78’), 1-3 Steffen (89’)
Yellow cards: Bornauw, Arnold, Roussillon, Steffen / Fonte, Ikone, Reinildo
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy)
Attendance: 6,544 at Volkswagen Arena