Gent 2-3 Wolfsburg: Julian Draxler double sees Wolfsburg home for first-leg lead
By AFP Sport
Last Updated: 17/02/16 10:28pm
Julian Draxler netted twice as Wolfsburg sealed a 3-2 win at Gent on Wednesday to leave the Germans on course for the Champions League quarter-finals.
The 22-year-old scored either side of the break in the last-16 first-leg clash, with Max Kruse also on target, but two late goals from Gent gave the Belgian champions some hope for the return leg in Germany on March 8.
Draxler was superb at the Ghelamco Arena, having also tormented Manchester United in Wolfsburg's 3-2 win in December in the final round of group matches which condemned Louis van Gaal's Red Devils to the Europa League.
Draxler's Germany team-mate Kruse added Wolfsburg's third on 60 minutes as the Gent defence capitulated and he nearly added a fourth just moments later by hitting the woodwork.
But Wolfsburg, last season's German Cup winners, lost their shape badly after Gent captain Sven Kums scored with 10 minutes to go before Kalifa Coulibaly added a second just before the final whistle.
The Germans were forced into a first-half change when right-back Sebastian Jung succumbed to a leg knock to make way for ex-Chelsea winger Andre Schurrle.
But persistent pressure from the away side had paid off just before that when Draxler created a superb opening goal.
The winger brilliantly turned Thomas Foket near the left touchline, before sprinting away from the Gent defence and playing a neat one-two with Vieirinha. He then slotted the return pass into the bottom right-hand corner on 44 minutes.
Draxler doubled Wolfsburg's lead just after the break when he pounced on a mistake in the Gent defence.
The former Schalke star snapped up a loose pass, played the ball between Stefan Mitrovic's legs and chipped Gent's onrushing goalkeeper Matz Sels on 54 minutes.
His classy finish took the wind out of the hosts' sails, and Wolfsburg's third followed six minutes later when Christian Traesch's pin-point cross was met in the middle by Kruse, who fired home from close range.
The Wolfsburg striker hit the woodwork two minutes later as the Gent defence again left him in acres of space, but he mistimed his shot.
Gent were surprise qualifiers from Group H behind winners Zenit St Petersburg, knocking out Valencia and Lyon, and they finally showed some fighting spirit in the closing stages.
Kums gave his side hope by beating two defenders and curling his shot around Wolfsburg's Belgian goalkeeper Koen Casteels 10 minutes from time.
Wolfsburg's defence vanished and Coulibaly headed their second on 89 minutes when he got in front of centre-back Dante at a corner to give his side some reason to believe for the return.