First Team

Wolves seal last-32 spot

VfL Wolfsburg confirmed their place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 on Thursday thanks to a 1-0 win at PFK Oleksandriya.

In a hard-fought contest with few clear-cut opportunities, Wout Weghorst’s penalty just before the interval decided the outcome and, coupled with the goalless draw in the other match between Saint-Étienne and Gent, means the Wolves have booked their place in the knockout stages with a game to spare. In the meantime, their attention turns back to the Bundesliga ahead of Sunday’s clash with SV Werder Bremen (kick-off 18:00 CET).

Wolves unchanged

Following Saturday’s 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt, head coach Oliver Glasner saw no reason to make any changes and stuck with the same starting line-up, with goalkeeper Koen Casteels making his debut in the competition.

Penalty breaks the deadlock

In pouring rain in Lviv, the game got off to a rather scrappy start but the Wolves created the first real opening on 13 minutes. Weghorst’s shot from just inside the area was parried by Oleksandriya goalkeeper Yuri Pankiv, and then William’s subsequent cross was headed wide by Admir Mehmedi. Six minutes later, Casteels had to show good reactions when a free-kick founds its way through to Dmytro Shastal on the edge of the six-yard box.

Glasner’s men were growing into the game and went close again in the 23rd minute, when Marcel Tisserand’s powerful header from a corner sailed just over. It looked like the first 45 minutes were going to end goalless, but on the stroke of half-time the Wolves broke the deadlock. Weghorst was hauled down in the penalty area, referee Manuel Schüttengruber pointed to the spot and the Dutchman picked himself up to tuck the ball into the corner of the net.

Wolves stand firm

VfL made a bright start to the second half as they looked to give themselves a more comfortable cushion. Jerome Roussillon warmed the gloves of Pankiv with a stinging shot from the corner of the penalty area, and moments later William’s effort was also pushed away by the unconvincing goalkeeper.

The pressure from the hosts increased after that but the Wolves dealt with everything that came their way and remained a threat on the counter, substitute Felix Klaus forcing a strong save from Pankiv. Roussillon then went close again in added time, but it mattered not as Glasner’s side clinched the three points they needed.

Oleksandriya: Pankiv - Pashayev, Baboglo, Dubra, Miroshnichenko - Banada, Zaporozhan, Grechyshkin - Luchkevych (Zaderaka 86’), Kovalets (Bezborodko 39’), Shastal (Tretyakov 55’)

VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels - Brooks, Bruma, Tisserand – William (Mbabu 90+1’), Guilavogui, Arnold, Roussillon - Joao Victor (Steffen 61’), Weghorst, Mehmedi (Klaus 80’)

Attendance: 7,118

Goals: Weghorst (45+1’ pen),

Yellow cards: Bezborodko, Pashayev / Bruma, Roussillon, William

Referee: Manuel Schüttengruber (Austria)



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