Wolfsburg: Zinedine Zidane admitted Real Madrid suffered an El Clasico hangover as they crashed to a 0-2 away Champions League quarter-final, first-leg, defeat at Wolfsburg on Wednesday.
wolf on the prowl: Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez (second from left) beats Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas (in green) from the penalty spot (18th minute) during their UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg in Germany on Wednesday. Wolfsburg’s Maxmilian Arnold scored the second goal (25th min) as the hosts won 2-0. pic/AFP
Just five days after ending Barcelona’s 39-game unbeaten run with a 2-1 away win, Real were humbled as Wolfsburg who are struggling mid-table in Germany’s top flight.
Real never recovered as first-half goals from Swiss defender Ricardo Rodriguez and Maximilian Arnold put the hosts 2-0 up at the Volkswagen Arena with 25 minutes gone. Wolfsburg now have the upper hand ahead of Tuesday’s return leg at the Bernabeu.
“I’m not happy, above all with the first-half. This can happen if you don’t play with intensity from the start,” said coach Zidane, who made just one change from the team which beat Barca.
“We wanted to play here just like we did on Saturday, it was an intense game for us (in Barcelona) and we were flat in the first-half here. Now we have a chance in the return leg and it’s good we’ve got a game in three days (at home to Eibar) to get over this defeat.
“We had our problems, not just in the intensity, but also in our movement. We didn’t expect the 2-0 defeat and we need to analyse where we went wrong and make corrections. I have to find the reasons for the defeat and the solutions”
Poor show by Real stars
Real’s six-game winning streak was ended as Wolfsburg picked up their first win in four games since beating Gent in the last 16 of the tournament. It was a poor performance from Real’s star forwards as Gareth Bale was kept quiet and Cristiano Ronaldo rarely shook off his markers. France forward Karim Benzema went off on 41 minutes after a knock.
Bale was frustrated at not being awarded a first-half penalty after a challenge from Luiz Gustavo. “I got to the ball first, he hit me, so it’s frustrating. In the return leg now we have to win by three goals,” said the Welshman.
The hosts took a shock lead on 18 minutes when Real midfielder Casemiro put in a clumsy foul on Wolfsburg’s Andre Schuerrle and Rodriguez nailed the spot kick. Wolfsburg’s Arnold then scored on 25 minutes.
“When Madrid leave the door open, you have to take the chance to go through it. My team did everything we talked about, annoyed Real and put ourselves in a good position for the return leg,” said Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking.