Wolfsburg (dpa) - A little proud you were at VfL Wolfsburg already. In itself a victory against an outsider from Ukraine is nothing special.
And since the next two opponents are the champions of France and the ex-champion of Belgium, he was not much more than a compulsory exercise. But the fact that the "Wolves" were the only German club to win their opening match in the European Football League on matchday one upgraded the 3-1 (2-0) win over PFK Oleksandrija.
«Frankfurt and Gladbach have shown: There are no easy games in the Europa League. There you have to go one step further than in the Bundesliga, »said Josuha Guilavogui, who not only celebrated the successful return to Wolfsburg in a European competition on this day, but also his 29th birthday.
The dilemma has been known for years: many do not take the Europa League as seriously as the much more lucrative Champions League. Even in Wolfsburg, the Volkswagen Arena was not even half full against a nearly unknown and correspondingly unattractive opponent with only 10,112 spectators. Nevertheless, coach Oliver Glasner was not only satisfied after the goals of Maximilian Arnold (20), Admir Mehmedi (24) and Josip Brekalo (67), but "very happy".
Because in the opinion of the Austrian, it is not so much the problem that some German, Italian or English clubs lack the motivation for the smaller European competition. But that many misjudge the level of the local opponents.
"Teams that you may not know well or that are not from one of the top nations can also perform well," said Glasner. "Because if you are high up in your league and then come through the qualification in the Europa League, then you have earned it and then you have quality. Therefore play in the Europa League very many good teams.
The next challenge awaits VfL on 3 October. Then it goes to the supposedly strongest group opponent AS Saint- Etienne, who is already under pressure after a 2: 3 at KAA Gent.
The French have a particularly loyal and passionate audience. At VfL, however, at least some were annoyed at the small number of spectators against Oleksandrija. "The people who were there today are the true fans," said Maximilian Arnold. "If you love football and you want to see football, you will also come to such matches in the stadium." His coach understood the disappointing scenery as an incentive. "We see it as our task to mobilize the fans for our journey through Europe," said Glasner. "We contributed the first part today."
Data about the game
Homepage of VfL Wolfsburg
The Europa League at uefa.com
Schedule of the VfL Wolfsburg
The Europa League squad of VfL Wolfsburg
The Europa League squad of the PFC Olexandrija
The group I
The European Cup balance sheet of VfL Wolfsburg