Wolfsburg cruise in Istanbul
Goals from Zvjezdan Misimovic, Christian Gentner and Edin Dzeko guided Wolfsburg to 3-0 win at Besiktas, although the German side have yet to secure their place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League. The visitors threatened to run their hosts ragged in a blistering opening period in which they took the lead through Misimovic, but they had to wait until the final ten minutes before they wrapped up victory with two further strikes.
However, they will have been grateful for Manchester United's late equaliser against CSKA Moscow, which means they hold a three-point lead in Group A over the Russians, who they visit in their next game before concluding their group campaign when they host the Premier League champions.
Wolfsburg dominated the opening spell and goalkeeper Hakan Arikan was called upon five times in the first ten minutes alone. Former Newcastle United forward Obafemi Martins was first to show as an attacking threat, drilling in a 20-yard shot which Arikan collected.
However, it merely heralded a spell of attacking from the German side with Arikan forced to punch out Marcel Schafer's cross, and just a minute later the goalkeeper parried Gentner's long-range shot. Arikan was again forced to punch out under pressure from Makoto Hasebe's corner before he produced the most stunning save when he tipped Misimovic's 25-yard shot round the post.
Such was the unrelenting nature of Wolfsburg's pressure it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 14th minute, Arikan powerless this time to prevent Misimovic's long-range effort from flying into the top left corner of the goal.
The Bundesliga team continued to attack, Martins and Alexander Madlung both attempting to add to the lead while Misimovic was unable to double his own tally when he was off target with a close-range header from Gentner's cross. Besiktas were reeling and had shown little as an attacking force, and it was not until the half-hour that Michael Fink had the Turkish side's first shot, firing wide from 25 yards.
A couple of minutes later and Ibrahim Uzulmez drilled in a left-footed shot, which was caught by Wolfsburg keeper Diego Benaglio, and Serdar Ozkan also tried his luck as the home side finally came into the game. Bobo put a header over for Besiktas, while Dzeko responded for the visitors with a right-footed shot saved by the keeper, but the game was far more even now.
The start of the second half did not show the urgency of the first - much to Besiktas's relief - and Rodrigo Tabata sent a 25-yard shot over the bar as the hosts pressed for an equaliser. Fink then forced Benaglio into a save, with the keeper parrying his 20-yard shot, and Tabata fired wide before being replaced.
Schafer put a shot over the bar and Misimovic drilled in a free-kick which was saved by Arikan as both sides looked for the next goal. With a little under 20 minutes to go Fink again forced the keeper into a save, his right-footed shot tipped round the post, and the same player then volleyed wide.
However, it was the German side who doubled their lead when Gentner pounced after Dzeko's shot had been parried by Arikan with ten minutes to go. Ugur Inceman, twice, and Mert Nobre had attempts from distance for Besiktas but they left themselves open and Wolfsburg claimed a third goal with three minutes to go, Dzeko converting Gentner's pass from the left.