Wolfsburg 2-0 Real Madrid
First-half goals from Ricardo Rodriguez and Maximilian Arnold earned the quarter-final debutants a win that leaves Madrid with plenty of work to do.
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- Quarter-final debutants Wolfsburg surprise Real Madrid with impressive display
- Ricardo Rodriguez penalty puts home side in front
- First UEFA Champions League goal ever conceded by Keylor Navas after 738 minutes
- Maximilian Arnold doubles German team's advantage
- Second leg at Santiago Bernabéu on 12 April
Wolfsburg's first UEFA Champions League knockout campaign could yet extend into the semi-finals after first-half goals from Ricardo Rodriguez and Maximilian Arnold earned a memorable victory against Real Madrid in the quarter-final first leg.
Zinédine Zidane's Madrid were on a six-game winning run and duly began in confident mood, Cristiano Ronaldo having an effort chalked out for offside before Karim Benzema burst through in the 14th minute. Goalkeeper Diego Benaglio's outstretched boot came to Wolfsburg's rescue, Gareth Bale slicing the rebound wide.
The home side made the most of the let-off. Eighteen minutes in, André Schürrle was felled by Casemiro and Rodriguez stepped up to convert the penalty, ending Keylor Navas's 738-minute run without conceding in the UEFA Champions League.
With his team behind for the first time in this season's competition, the Madrid keeper was beaten again seven minutes later. Julian Draxler found Bruno Henrique on the right and Arnold got ahead of Sergio Ramos to side-foot in at the near post, putting Wolfsburg well on the way to making it five wins from five European home matches this term.
Benzema headed wide as a stunned Madrid sought a response, Benaglio dealing smartly with a subsequent Toni Kroos effort. Madrid's hopes were further knocked when Benzema limped off before the interval, and they continued to struggle to create clear openings.
Indeed, Wolfsburg might have made it three as they broke out following a brief flurry of Madrid pressure, Henrique leading the counterattack. The Brazilian found Schürrle on the right with only Navas to beat; the shot flashed over.
Madrid came again and Isco cleverly released Ronaldo with the outside of his right foot; the Portuguese seemed certain to add to his 13 goals in this season's tournament, only for Benaglio to intervene. At the other end, Navas plunged to his left to repel Max Kruse's attempt to cause even more damage to the Merengues, but Wolfsburg will travel to Spain full of hope.
Key player: Maximilian Arnold
Midfielder Arnold may have had his tongue in his cheek when suggesting "6-0" would be the ideal result for Wolfsburg to take to Madrid, yet there were moments when the hosts looked like running away with this game. The 21-year-old's pace and direct running fairly tormented the visitors and his first UEFA Champions League strike secured a 2-0 advantage for Die Wölfe. Indeed, the player who said beforehand that facing Madrid represented a dream come true, can now dream of a place in the semi-finals.
Unrecognisable from the team beaten 3-0 at Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend, Wolfsburg produced another inspired home performance in the UEFA Champions League, a stage upon which they have more often than not excelled this season. Orchestrating with intensity from the sidelines, Dieter Hecking – who gave a competition debut to Bruno Henrique and recalled Naldo to his lineup after injury – appeared exhausted at the end. The coach's 'contain and counterattack' plan worked to perfection and bewildered Madrid, who must find solutions for next Tuesday's return.
A frustrating night for Madrid's front three of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, the French forward going off with a first-half injury. A hard week on the training pitch beckons as they bid to find ways of unlocking Wolfsburg's tight defence.