VfL Wolfsburg earned a UEFA Europa League round-of-16 tie against FC Rubin Kazan with three first-half strikes helping sink Villarreal CF, the German club progressing 6-3 on aggregate after a 2-2 draw in Spain last week.
Edin Džeko and an Ángel López own goal inside the opening 15 minutes subdued Juan Carlos Garrido's charges in what was a blistering start to the match. Although Joan Capdevila pulled one back, efforts either side of half-time from Christian Gentner and Grafite completed a resounding home win.
The Wolves' front pairing of Grafite and Džeko passed up a number of presentable chances in the sides' first meeting but each played a significant role in ensuring those mistakes were not repeated in front of their own supporters. Džeko broke the deadlock after ten minutes when he evaded the Villarreal offside trap, latched on to Josué's lofted pass and rifled into the top corner.
The second was not long in coming either with the opening goalscorer combining with strike partner Grafite, the Brazilian's bouncing cross deflected past his own goalkeeper by Ángel López. The Yellow Submarine were struggling to stay afloat at that stage and could have leaked further goals before they navigated an escape route on the half-hour when Marcos Senna whipped a corner to the back post and Capdevila's header thumped in off the bar.
Lorenz-Günther Köstner's men regained their foothold after 42 minutes when Džeko burst down the right and crossed for Gentner to tap in, but the visitors composed themselves at the break and threatened a comeback early in the second half. Any such aspirations were finally quelled on 64 minutes when Zvjezdan Misimović's free-kick found Grafite unmarked and his slight touch from six metres beat Diego López low to his left. A sensational Marwin Hitz save from Nilmar late on confirmed it would not be Villarreal's evening.
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