Wolfsburg leave it too late and bow out of Europa League | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 23.04.2015
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Wolfsburg leave it too late and bow out of Europa League

Despite drawing in Naples, Wolfsburg suffered from a poor first-leg performance and exited the competition. Elsewhere, Mario Gomez sent Fiorentina through, and Ukrainian surprise-package Dnipro and Sevilla also advanced.

Napoli 2-2 Wolfsburg (3-6 on aggregate)
(Callejon 50', Mertens 65' - Klose 71', Perisic 73')

Without key men Andre Schürrle and Kevin de Bruyne and three goals down, Wolfsburg were left needing a magical performance in Italy to progress to the Europa League semifinal. Ivan Perisic nearly got them off to the perfect start, but his instinctive poke towards goal after 60 seconds was well saved by Mariano Andujar.

After the usual exchange of possession under a quiet atmosphere in a sparsely populated stadium, Wolfsburg began to have more chances. Christian Träsch fired wide before Joshua Guilavogui could only tamely connect with a deep cross from Perisic. A poor pass, a mis-control and an unnecessary back-heel from Maxi Arnold spoiled a counterattack before Nicklas Bendtner headed narrowly wide. Gonzalo Higuain had the home side's only real chance of the half, but sent it acrobatically wide.

After the break, Wolfsburg appeared a different side and Napoli took advantage to all but end their hopes before the hour mark. Jose Callejon broke through and his shot took a wicked deflection over the top of Diego Benaglio and in.

Callejon nearly added a second moments later, as the reality of the situation seemed to quickly dawn on Wolfsburg. The longer it went on the more it looked like Napoli's first-half display had been part of the game plan. Higuain showed great awareness to lay the ball off to Mertens in the box and after a good save by Benaglio, the Belgian gobbled up the rebound, putting Napoli 2-0 up.

Fußball UEFA Europa League SSC Napoli gegen VfL Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg's fans still have the Champions League to look forward to next season

With 20 minutes to go, Wolfsburg scored two goals in quick succession to draw level. First Timm Klose headed in from a corner, before Perisic bravely did the same from a Guilavogui cross. The goals were too few and too late for the Bundesliga side, whose Europa League campaign came to a disappointing end.

Final four are fixed

Kevin Gamiero's late equalizer sent defending champions Sevilla through 4-3 on aggregate against Zenit. Fiorentina won 2-0, with Mario Gomez scoring the Italians' first goal of the evening to see off Dynamo Kiev. Surprise team of the tournament, Dnipro edged into the final four ahead of Club Brugge thanks to a goal from Evgen Shakhov goal eight minutes from time.

The draw for the Europa League semifinals will follow the Champions League draw on Friday.

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