VfL Wolfsburg made a dismal start to their Europa League campaign on Thursday as they suffered a 4-1 defeat away at Everton.
Sporting director Klaus Allofs was unimpressed by his side’s commitment, and after the match told Bild: “You have to win the battles here in England. I do not have the impression that we are willing to push the envelope, like last year.”
He continued by saying that this was “not the team that we saw last season.”
The Wolves were expected to be Everton’s biggest rivals in group H ahead of Lille and Krasnodar but this early set back has pegged the Bundesliga side back with pressure firmly on their next tie at home to Lille.
A poor start
Everton went into half-time with a two-goal lead thanks to an OG from Ricardo Rodriguez and a Seamus Coleman header from close range.
The lead was then doubled just after the break after Aiden McGeady was brought down for a penalty, even though replays showed the foul was committed outside the area. Leighton Baines stepped up to kill off the game.
Wolfsburg dominated the second half and created a lot of chances but Tim Howard remained in fine form as he pulled off save after save.
They were then caught out on the break as Kevin Mirallas made it four before Rodriguez made up for his earlier mistake by firing the ball past Howard from a free-kick to cap off a fine game for the Switzerland international.
Problems all round
Even though Wolfsburg managed to fire 27 shots at the Everton goal, they were still wasteful with their opportunities and most efforts were taken from distance.
Undoubtedly, Wolfsburg have got one of the most talented groups of midfielders in the Bundesliga but up front they lack options as they heavily rely on Croatian Ivica Olic to find the goals.
Last season he netted 13 times but if they are to challenge for the Champions League places this time around, then Dieter Hecking will have to invest in a better striking alternative than Arsenal reject Nicklas Bendtner.
The club did express an interest in Romelu Lukaku, however he opted to stay in the Premier League with his club from last season on a permanent basis.
Too much room
Ex-Chelsea teammate and current Wolfsburg midfielder Kevin de Bruyne spoke to the Everton players after the game and they signalled that Wolfsburg left too much room for them to operate in.
Defensively, the Wolves were troubled by the additional threats of Coleman and Baines running down the channels and this will be something Hecking would have taken note of.
Their next game is at home to Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen, who have been hammering in the goals so far this season. They will be hoping to batten down the hatches to prevent another scoreline like last night.