Bundesliga leaders VfL Wolfsburg scored a lucky point at the French champions OSC Lille at the start of the new Champions League season. At the 0-0 at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, the “Wolves” achieved a useful result on Tuesday evening with a poor performance.
In the last half hour they even played outnumbered because defender John Anthony Brooks saw yellow-red in the 62nd minute after a handball. Only three minutes earlier, VfL had shot at the opposing goal through Maximilian Philipp for the first time in this game (59th).
The Wolfsburg were lucky in stoppage time: First José Fonte headed just past the Wolfsburg goal, then the video referee took back a penalty (90.6.).
Lille were the much more dangerous team in front of their noisy fans and scored the alleged 1-0 shortly after the break. However, a goal from Jonathan David was conceded again by the video referee because the ball had previously been out of touch.
This game was far from the Champions League level. Wolfsburg in particular played nervous and restrained before this evening turned into a pure defensive battle due to Brooks’ dismissal. At the beginning, coach Mark van Bommel sent exactly those players onto the pitch who had qualified for the most important competition in club football last season. On the one hand, this meant that the two top transfers Luca Waldschmidt (Benfica Lisbon) and Lukas Nmecha (Manchester City) initially only sat on the bench. On the other hand, with Josuha Guilavogui, Maxence Lacroix and Jerome Roussillon, the Wolfsburg team had more French players in their starting XI than the French champions.
The goal was to control this game and to give Lille’s quick attackers Jonathan David and Jonathan Ikoné as little room as possible. But the many ball losses in the Wolfsburg game made control almost impossible. In addition, the Lower Saxony was mainly stressed by a man who actually wanted to end his career in China five years ago and who has now returned to the Champions League at the age of 36: the Turkish center forward Burak Yilmaz, from his own Fans cheered loudly as they warm up.
In the eighth minute, Guilavogui caught the ball in the penalty area just in time. A free kick by the veteran (13th) was also dangerous. Only after a solo run by Canadian David, Yilmaz’s graduation turned out to be too harmless (21st). Even after the break, the “wolves” were unable to correct the weak impression of the first half. The failure of the French to hit and Brooks’ repeated mishaps highlighted the whole vulnerability. Only VfL goalkeeper Koen Casteels stood in the way of Lille’s unequal striker duo in the second half. In the 64th minute, the Belgian parried against the 21-year-old David, shortly afterwards against the 15-year-old Yilmaz (69th).