Max Kruse hailed the "quality" of Wolfsburg team-mate André Schürrle, whose goalscoring appearance off the bench at CSKA Moskva means the German side need just a point to progress.
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On 25 November 2009, Wolfsburg lost 2-1 at CSKA Moskva – the first of two successive defeats that prevented the German side reaching the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Exactly six years later, however, the Bundesliga outfit made sure there would be no repeat result as they left Russia with three points and a place atop Group B.
The game had been lacking in quality until visiting coach Dieter Hecking played a masterstroke by introducing André Schürrle. The former Chelsea attacking midfielder turned the contest in the 29 minutes he was on the pitch. Forward Max Kruse was duly full of praise for the 25-year-old, who created the opener, an Igor Akinfeev own goal, and scored the second late on, doubling his tally for the season.
"André has been through a difficult time in the last few weeks, but he showed today that he has a lot of quality," Kruse said of his fellow German international after the 2-0 win in Khimki.
The Wolves had enjoyed plenty of possession but found it difficult to create chances until Schürrle's introduction. In fact, Wolfsburg had been content to sit back for long periods and absorb CSKA's attacks, a ploy that ultimately worked to perfection.
"We knew that CSKA needed three points, but we didn't want to focus too much on that – we wanted to attack as well, to put pressure on our opponents, and during large parts of the game we managed to do that."
Kruse acknowledged that the Lower Saxony team are in "a good position" following a victory achieved in "difficult circumstances". Wolfsburg next host Manchester United, who drew 0-0 with PSV Eindhoven in the night's other Group B fixture, aware that a point will smooth their passage to the knockout phase. A defeat will even suffice if PSV fail to overcome CSKA.
"We're looking forward to that," Kruse continued. "It'll be a good game. A victory could result in first place for us and to reach the next round would be very nice for all of us."