Wolfsburg have beaten Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie. Ricardo Rodriguez and Max Arnold scored the goals for the northern German side.
Wolfsburg 2-0 Real Madrid
(Ricardo Rodriguez 18' [pen], Max Arnold 25')
Underdogs Wolfsburg beat Real Madrid 2-0 in the first leg of their first quarterfinal tie in the Champions League on Wednesday evening. Against the odds, Dieter Hecking's side kept Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates at bay and put themselves in a good position to progress to the semifinals.
Despite a contentious goal from Ronaldo in the second minute of the game, which was ruled offside, Wolfsburg settled into the match surprisingly well with a deep defensive line and the clear intent of hitting their visitors with quick, counter-attacking football. It was a predictable ploy from coach Hecking, yet Madrid struggled with the pace and precision of Wolfsburg's attacks. Maximilian Arnold, Bruno Henrique, Andre Schürrle and Julian Draxler all danced past defenders into endless space behind an attacking team that had little intention of defending in large numbers.
Despite Madrid's formidable attacking power, the Wolves drew first blood when Draxler jinked past Danilo and drilled a pass across the Madrid box to the on-running Schürrle. As Schürrle lined up his shot, Real Madrid's Casemiro got a foot in and tripped the Wolfsburg player for a penalty. Ricardo Rodriguez then stepped up and scored to give the home side the lead.
From there, Wolfsburg pressed on with exquisite one-touch football. While Luiz Gustavo and Josuha Guilavogui battled in the middle of the park, Bruno Henrique and Draxler weaved past both Madrid fullbacks with ease and offered an attack that Ronaldo and Gareth Bale seemed incapable of matching on the night.
With belief in their hearts, Wolfsburg continued to push for a second. Just seven minutes after their opening goal, Draxler dribbled inside and found Henrique galloping down the right wing unmarked. The Brazilian then whipped a cross to an unmarked Arnold in the center of the Madrid box, and he tapped in Wolfsburg's second of the night.
If Madrid hadn't been surprised by the first goal, they clearly were stunned by a second, because they subsequently retreated into a world of individual errors and predictable football. The team that had beaten Barcelona at the Nou Camp just four days earlier resorted to long balls long-range shots against a Wolfsburg side many had expected them to beat comprehensively.
The second half offered more of the same from the Galacticos as they offered little in attack and struggled in defense. While Ronaldo, Bale and Toni Kroos were crowded and hassled off the ball, Draxler and his gang of forwards continued to find extended time and space in the Madrid half.
Real coach Zinedine Zidane's side were still compelled to attack in an effort to pick up a vital away goal, but the Wolves continued to pepper the Madrid goalmouth with chance after chance. Ronaldo was denied a goal in the 73rd minute when Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio met his driven shot. At the other end, Schürrle and Max Kruse, in the 69th and 89th minutes respectively, had chances to add to the score, but Keylor Navas was able to handle their shots.
At fulltime, the home support erupted in acknowledgement of what was arguably the most impressive resul in Wolfsburg's history. They now take a 2-0 lead to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain with the hope of reaching their first berth in the Champions League semifinals.