VfL Wolfsburg remain second in UEFA Champions League Group B after goals from Zvjezdan Misimović, Christian Gentner and Edin Džeko ended injury-hit Beşiktaş JK's hopes of reaching the knockout phase on a freezing Istanbul night.
Misimović produced a superb goal on 14 minutes to reward Wolfsburg's early dominance, and the home side remained largely on the defensive thereafter. In the last ten minutes Gentner and Džeko increased the lead and Beşiktaş will now hope to pip PFC CSKA Moskva to a UEFA Europa League berth. Wolfsburg go to CSKA on Matchday 5 three points ahead of the Russian side in second and knowing a draw would take them through.
Beşiktaş had lost goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber, İbrahim Toraman, Fabian Ernst and Nihat Kahveci to injury in or since Saturday's win against MKE Ankaragücü and with the enforced changes it was little surprise that replacement custodian Hakan Arıkan was put under pressure early on. Christian Gentner and Ricardo Costa both went close in the first ten minutes before Zvjezdan Misimović broke the deadlock with a superb strike from more than 20 metres out.
Wolfsburg on top
Wolfsburg coach Armin Veh had predicted an attacking display from Beşiktaş compared to the 0-0 draw a fortnight ago but it was the visitors who were pouring forward, and the home side did not have a real chance until the 34th minute. Bobô's incisive pass found Serdar Özkan but his shot went across the face of goal. Bobô then headed just over while at the other end Edin Džeko was unable to double the lead despite several fine efforts.
Mustafa Denizli brought on Rodrigo Tello for Serdar Özkan on the right-hand side for the second half while there was a tactical change from Wolfsburg with Makoto Hasebe withdrawn, Peter Pekarík coming on at right-back and Sascha Riether moving from that position to hold the midfield. Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio denied Rodrigo Tabata and then Michael Fink as Beşiktaş pushed hard to keep their hopes alive. German defender Fink tried his luck again but those proved increasingly rare forays for Beşiktaş, who were seldom threatening the Wolfsburg goal.
Ten minutes from time the visitors effectively made the game safe through Gentner. Hakan Arıkan advanced to the edge of his box to block from Džeko but the ball fell to Gentner who, after pausing to control, curled a confident shot around the grasp of the goalkeeper and inside the near post. Džeko, who scored in Bosnia-Herzegovina's 2-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying defeat against Turkey in this stadium in October 2008, repeated the trick with three minutes left as he beat the Beşiktaş offside trap and confidently beat Hakan Arıkan. The visitors left the pitch to generous and deserved applause from the home fans knowing a place in the last 16 in their debut season is within their grasp.