Goals from Joshua Guilavogui and Daniel Ginczek helped Wolfsburg to beat resilient Ukrainian outfit Desna 2-0 in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round on Thursday.
The Wolves took a hard-earned win and are now one victory away from booking their berth in the Europa League’s group stage, as ten-man Desna were unable to cause surprise.
Wolfsburg made a powerful start on home soil and caused a lot of trouble on the left wing. It took the hosts only 16 minutes to break the deadlock when Renato Steffen flicked on Admir Mehmedi’s pinpoint corner, allowing Guilavogui to nod home the opener from close range.
Despite a positive start, Wolfsburg failed to build on their momentum and focused on long-range efforts, which posed no threat for Desna goalkeeper Yehven Past in the remainder of the first half.
After the restart, Desna took control and should have restored parity in the opening stages of the half as Guilavogui blocked Vladislav Kalitvintsev’s rebound from inside the box on the goalline.
Kalitvintsev remained in the thick of things after unleashing a free kick from 20 meters which forced Wolfsburg custodian Koen Casteels into action in the 51st minute.
The visitors from the Ukraine grew in confidence but the dismissal of Joonas Tamm, who saw his second yellow card for repeated foul play at the hour mark, changed proceedings on the pitch.
The sending off killed the game for Desna as Wolfsburg assumed control and possession but for all that the hosts lacked in producing promising opportunities.
Wolfsburg eventually put the result beyond doubt in the dying minutes of the game after Xaver Schlager’s square pass found unmarked Ginczek, who had all time and space to tap home the assist into the open goal.
Oliver Glasner’s men will encounter AEK Athens in an all-or-nothing game to battle for an Europa League place on October 1.