Real Madrid went to pieces at Wolfsburg, losing the Champions League quarter-final first leg through two first half goals.
Ricardo Rodriguez opened the scoring from the spot after Casemiro was found to have felled Andre Schurrle as the forward was about to shoot, sending Keylor Navas the wrong way – the first time the Costa Rican has conceded in the Champions League.
It was two less than 10 minutes later when the Wolfsburg attack was given too much space, the Madrid defence standing off and Maxi Arnold quickest to Bruno Henrique’s low cross.
Zinedine Zidane made one change from the XI that beat Barcelona, Danilo for Dani Carvajal, while Dieter Hecking had Naldo fit and Joshua Guilavogui, on loan from Atletico Madrid, started as well.
Wolfsburg hadn’t even touched the ball before it was in their own net after Karim Benzema fed Cristiano Ronaldo, who finished with unerring accuracy, but was judged to have been offside.
The officials slipped deeper into Madrid’s bad books by turning down a Gareth Bale penalty appeal, a shout at least as strong as the one given to Schurrle.
Benzema had the next chance, powering through the Wolfsburg defence despite carrying a knock courtesy of Naldo that forced him off before half time, and ignoring the supporting Ronaldo to shoot, Diego Benaglio saving and Bale slicing the rebound wide.
Wolfsburg’s debatable penalty came shortly after, converted by Rodriguez with the utmost calmness, and Madrid didn’t learn from the Wolfsburg breaks before and after as the deficit increased when Henrique got the freedom of the right flank.
Bale’s cross to Benzema was Madrid’s best sight of getting back in the game but the header lacked direction, as did Draxler’s attempt to make it three with Wolfsburg’s next attack.
Bale put a free kick from close range over the bar late in the first half, Madrid ending the first 45 minutes trailing Wolfsburg by a distance and though they plugged away early in the second, Die Wolfe remained comfortable.
Madrid frustrations grew – most visibly through Ronaldo – as the Portuguese headed a delightful Bale delivery to the far post over the crossbar.
Isco was introduced for Luka Modric and played further forward than the Croatian but Wolfsburg’s defence was resolute – and when Ronaldo did get through, Benaglio was out quickly with a sprawling save.
Navas wasn’t tested by Henrique as Wolfsburg continued to break into the space behind the Madrid full-backs, the winger dangerous when crossing but wasteful when shooting.
Madrid pushed for an away goal that would give them a foothold at Santiago Bernabeu next week but were too sluggish to really break down a well-drilled Wolfsburg defence – and always looked vulnerable on the break as well.
The away goal didn’t come and indeed Max Kruse could have added to Wolfsburg’s lead but for a Navas save in the final minute, Wolfsburg fully deserving of their victory and Madrid on the brink of a last eight exit.
Wolfsburg 2-0 Real Madrid
Rodriguez pen 17, Arnold 25 (W)
Wolfsburg: Benaglio; Vieirinha, Naldo, Dante, Rodriguez; Guilavogui, Gustavo; Arnold, Henrique (Trasch 80), Draxler (Schafer 92), Schurrle (Kruse 85)
Real Madrid: Navas; Danilo, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos (James 85), Modric (Isco 64); Bale, Benzema (Jese 41), Ronaldo
Referee: Rocchi [ITA]