Die Mannschaft des VfL Wolfsburg jubelt.
27.02.2020
First Team

Wolves roar into last 16

VfL Wolfsburg sealed their place in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 with a 3-0 win at Malmö FF on Thursday.

Die Mannschaft des VfL Wolfsburg jubelt.

The Wolves progressed to the next round in convincing fashion after an excellent performance in southern Sweden. Oliver Glasner’s men were rock-solid at the back and clinical going forward as goals from Josip Brekalo, Yannick Gerhardt and Joao Victor completed a 5-1 aggregate scoreline. They will now be eagerly anticipating Friday’s draw for the Round of 16, before returning to Bundesliga action on Sunday with a trip to Union Berlin (kick-off 13:30 CET).

Slight reshuffle

The starting line-up showed two changes from last Sunday’s 4-0 win at home to 1. FSV Mainz 05. With Kevin Mbabu suspended and William already out injured, Renato Steffen filled in at right-back and Admir Mehmedi came into the attack, while Maximilian Arnold was recalled at the expense of Daniel Ginczek as Glasner reverted to a 4-3-3 formation.

Brekalo bags crucial goal

As in the first leg a week ago, the first half was a tight and cagey affair, with the Wolves keeping the hosts at bay and looking to counter when they could. VfL did have an early opening in the sixth minute, when Mehmedi volleyed over after Brekalo’s free-kick had only been half-cleared. At the other end, Koen Casteels was never really troubled, with Malmö failing to register a single attempt on target in the opening period.

The decisive moment of the half came with just a few minutes left until the interval. Brekalo whipped a delightful shot into the bottom corner after a neat one-two with Wout Weghorst on the edge of the area, and although the effort was initially ruled out for offside, the decision was overturned by the video assistant.

Result put beyond doubt

The Green-and-Whites did not sit back after the break and had a good opportunity to extend their lead early on in the second half, but Xaver Schlager could not keep his close-range volley down from Mehmedi’s smart header. Arnold then went close on the hour mark with a fizzing long-range shot that flew just wide of the post.

Despite being ahead, it was the Wolves who continued to create the better chances and they were rewarded in the 66th minute. Mehmedi was initially denied one-on-one by Johan Dahlin but from the follow-up, the Swiss attacker set up Gerhardt, who curled the ball past the Malmö goalkeeper. Glasner’s men were not done there and made it 3-0 just a few minutes later. Gerhardt was the provider this time, winning possession and then squaring the ball to substitute Joao Victor, who just had to tap in from close range.

That was the last real action of the tie as the Wolves preserved their clean sheet and celebrated a great victory in front of their 1,700 travelling fans.

Malmö FF: Dahlin – Lewicki, Ahmedhodzic, Bengtsson (Nielsen 76’), Safari – Christiansen, Bachirou, Rieks – Nalic (Berget 56’), Antonsson, Kiese Thelin

VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels - Steffen, Knoche, Brooks, Otavio – Arnold, Schlager (Victor 58’), Gerhardt – Mehmedi, Weghorst (Ginczek 71’), Brekalo (Klaus 79’)

Goals: Brekalo (42’), Gerhardt (66’), Victor (70’)

Yellow cards: Rieks / Brooks

Attendance: 19,500

Referee: William Collum (Scotland)

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