Wolfsburg make last 8 for the first time

Wolfsburg forward Andre Schuerrle (in black) and his team-mates acknowledge their fans at the Volkswagen Arena after the Bundesliga side's 1-0 victory over Belgian outfit Gent sent them through to the Champions League quarter-finals for the first tim
Wolfsburg forward Andre Schuerrle (in black) and his team-mates acknowledge their fans at the Volkswagen Arena after the Bundesliga side's 1-0 victory over Belgian outfit Gent sent them through to the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in the German club's history.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WOLFSBURG • Three seasons ago, Wolfsburg were not even in the top eight in the Bundesliga.

On Tuesday, they reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in the club's history.

Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs admitted it was beyond his wildest dreams.

Andre Schuerrle scored the only goal in their 1-0 victory over Gent in the second leg that took them through 4-2 on aggregate.

"It's sensational," beamed Allofs. "At the beginning of the season, we never thought we'd get this far.

"It was a strange game. At the start, we were very reserved and didn't find our game. We hadn't wanted to take any big risks or invite any counter-attacks, but we managed to keep the tempo up and get the goal."

Both teams were making their debuts in the knockout stages. Having lost the first leg 2-3 at home, Gent came to the Volkswagen Arena needing to score at least twice. But Schuerrle ended their hopes with a goal 16 minutes from time.

It was his Germany team-mate Julian Draxler, scorer of a brace in the first leg, who danced around Gent defender Nana Asare to provide the cross which Schuerrle drilled home.

It capped a fine week for the Germany winger after hitting his first Bundesliga hat-trick last Tuesday in a 4-0 romp over Hanover. Scoring the winner against Gent will further raise the former Chelsea player's stock at Wolfsburg.

"It was a tough match. We wanted to defend well and wait for our chances. In the end, the win was deserved," said Schuerrle. "I knew that my time would come and I am happy that I seem to be on a good run."

Gent had 53 per cent possession and seven shots, with just two hitting the target. But the Belgian side's manager Hein Vanhaezebrouck was satisfied with his team despite their exit.

"There have been moments where we had the chance to score, but we didn't take them. We were well organised and had chances to get the first goal," he said.

"If we'd gone 1-0 up, it might have been a different match, but nevertheless we performed well.

"In the second half we had to take more risks and brought on some more attacking players but just in this moment we conceded the decisive goal."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2016, with the headline 'Wolfsburg make last 8 for the first time'. Print Edition | Subscribe