VfL Wolfsburg deservedly reached the last 16 of the Europa League with a courageous away performance that was brilliant at times in the second half.
The Bundesliga soccer team won 3:0 (1:0) at Swedish record champion Malmo FF and thus advanced to the intermediate round with confidence. The first leg had the Lower Saxons a week earlier with 2:1 for themselves decided. Josip Brekalo (42. Minute), Yannick Gerhardt (65.) and Joao Victor (69.) scored the goals for VfL, who are back in the round of the best 16 of a European competition for the first time since 2016. The next opponent will be the following day from 13.00 o’clock at the draw in Nyon determined.
In the atmospheric, tight and noisy Malmo stadium, coach Oliver Glasner’s team took the fight right from the start. Glasner had set up offensively despite the success in the first leg, and his team performed accordingly: Wolfsburg repeatedly disturbed the Malmo players early in the opening phase in the build-up to the game and looked for the way forward. The first goal belonged to the visitors: Admir Mehmedi shot from the edge of the penalty area, but his aim was clearly too high (6.).
Up to the sixteenth the wolves did it well. Although little happened in front of the Malmo goal, Wolfsburg at least kept the hosts from the hometown of soccer icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic away from their own penalty area for a long time. A header too high and an attempt from an acute angle by Marcus Antonsson – that’s all coach Jon Dahl Tomasson’s team had to offer in the first half.
But the VfL struck: Brekalo played a one-two with center forward Wout Weghorst and then circled the ball into the right corner. The goal initially did not count because of a supposed offside position by Weghorst, but was then given after the use of the video assistant.
Shortly after the break, Xaver Schlager could have added to the tally, but the Austrian shot over the goal from five meters with a free kick (50.). The game now became more restless. Malmo dared more, became more offensive, but was too uncreative in front to become really dangerous.
Wolfsburg played with much more determination: a powerful long-range shot from Maximilian Arnold flew just a few centimeters past the post (61.). Gerhardt did it better shortly afterwards: After Mehmedi had failed to beat Malmo goalkeeper Johan Dahlin just a few seconds earlier, the 25-year-old flicked the ball into the left-hand corner for an impressive and unstoppable goal. When Joao Victor increased the score to 3:0 a little later after a beautiful combination from close range, the party mood in the Wolfsburg fan block was perfect. “Oh, how beautiful it is,” sang the supporters who came along and were already looking forward to the next European Cup night.