Europe: Champions League
2 - 0
(1 - 0)
J. Jordán (13), R. Mir (90)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Wolfsburg falter in Seville with anemic performance

Florian Kohfeldt suffered his first defeat in five fixtures in charge of Wolfsburg on Tuesday evening in Andalusia as a completely harmless VfL Wolfsburg managed very little in a 0-2 defeat to FC Sevilla. 

The loss actually doesn't eliminate Germany's green company team from the Champions' League knockouts, but certainly puts a great deal of pressure on the VfL to win big at home against Lille on the competition's final group stage matchday.
German Champions' League representatives VfL Wolfsburg travelled to Andalusia on Tuesday evening aiming to settle a score with Julian Lopetegui's 2019/20 Europe League Champions after a VAR controversy cost them three points in the home leg. Instead, it was the Spanish hosts who dominated en-route to an easy 2-0 victory.

New VfL trainer Florian Kohfeldt made five changes to the staring XI that drew Bielefeld over the weekend. Paulo Otavio (still fit enough to make the bench squad) and Renato Steffen (out entirely with a calf injury) were not available for the lineup. Captain Koen Casteels also had to sit the fixture out after contracting COVID.  The young head-coach also opted to sit defenders Sebastiaan Bornauw and Kevin Mbabu,

Outfielders Joshua Guilavogui, Aster Vranckx, Maxence Lacroix, and Jerome Roussillon were thus the four field changes ahead of backup keeper Pavao Pervan. The German Wolves lined up in what looked like a 4-1-2-3 with Guilavogui at sweeper, Vranckx pairing with Maximilian Arnold in midfield, and Yannick Gerhardt serving on the right wing opposite Lukas Nmecha.

The guests had difficulty establishing their game from the start, rarely getting the ball off of their Andalusian hosts. Sevilla captain (and former Schalke star) Ivan Rakitic took advantage of far too much space accorded him in the 12th. A service into the box was cooly finished off by Joan Jordan, with the Wolfsburg defensive ranks looking all out of sorts despite a numerical advantage.

Germany's green company team did make a concerted effort to mount a response. After a much better spell that included more possession and penetration, Nmecha found himself unlucky to have a vicious effort deflected off the crossbar by keeper Yassine "Bono" Bounou. The play featured a nice set-up by Wout Weghorst and deft leave from Gerhardt. Unfortunately, it would be the only real chance Wolfsburg could muster for the rest of the half.

Coordination problems at the back saw back-up keeper Pervan have some difficulty coordinating passes with his defender. Furthermore, John Anthony Brooks and Ridle Baku committed several defensive errors that nearly led to the hosts increasing their lead. Both teams fell into a listless lull to finish off the opening 45, yet both emerged from the dressing room without any personnel changes.

Sevilla continued to be the slightly more aggressive team after the break, producing a pair of half chances involving Argentine fullback Marcos Acuna. Kohfeldt's men could truly manage nothing with Lopetegui's troops back defending in numbers against the set constellation. Nmecha and Vranckx came closest to generating something with a clever combo in the 64th.

Kohfeldt pulled the trigger on his first change in the 66th, bringing on Maximilian Philipp for Gerhardt. Otavio, Mbabu, and Dodi Lukebakio would then enter on a triple change nine minutes later. A visibly frustrated Kohfeldt tore off his jacket and prowled the sideline as his team still failed to manufacture any good opportunities. Replacing Brooks with extra attacker Ginczek also produced nothing.

Pervan managed to get back and protect his empty net after running all the way forward on a late push. He nevertheless ended up conceding a second goal in extra added time. Substitute Rafael Mir "Rafa Mir" Vicente polished off a Lucas Ocampos cross at 90+7.

Die Wölfe remain alive in the wild and crazy 2021/22 UEFA Champions' League Group G, where no team has managed to win more than two matches through five group stage rounds. Wolfsburg, dead-last in the group, can still qualify for the knockouts or clinch an Europa League referral with a win against Lille at home in two weeks' time.

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