Julian Draxler’s first goal for Wolfsburg gave the German side a 1-0 victory over CSKA Moscow in their Champions League group stage opener on Tuesday.
Germany international Draxler completed a move to the club from Bundesliga rivals Schalke on transfer deadline day, as Wolfsburg sought to fill the void left by Kevin De Bruyne’s departure to Manchester City.
And Draxler wasted little time in endearing himself to the home faithful, firing in from close range with five minutes remaining in the first half at the Volkswagen Arena.
Wolfsburg’s previous season in the Champions League, in 2009-10, also began at home to CSKA, when the German outfit prevailed 3-1 and exactly six years to the day it was a similarly fruitless trip for the visitors.
Leonid Slutsky’s side came into Tuesday’s clash with a five-point lead after eight games in the Russian Premier League, but created few chances of note as Wolfsburg ran out worthy winners.
Next up for Wolfsburg in Group B is a trip to Manchester United, while CSKA will return home to face Dutch champions PSV.
The home side made the brighter start and threatened for the first time in the 11th minute when Bas Dost rose highest to meet a Christian Trasch cross, but he could only head the right-wing delivery over the crossbar.
As Wolfsburg continued to press, Draxler slipped in Andre Schurrle midway through the half but CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev raced from his line and produced a fine save with his outstretched left boot to deny the former Chelsea man.
CSKA eventually made some inroads into opposition territory 10 minutes prior to the break, only for Alan Dzagoev to blaze a wild effort over.
Daniel Caligiuri should have put Wolfsburg in front shortly afterwards, but he delayed his shot with just Akinfeev to beat, which allowed Georgi Schennikov to recover and make a tackle.
CSKA’s respite was brief, however, as Draxler slammed home after Akinfeev had parried his initial header from Max Kruse’s cross.
The visitors grew into the game in the second period and Diego Benaglio was finally called into serious action in the 70th minute when he got down to his left to keep out Pontus Wernbloom’s header.
With 15 minutes remaining, Schurrle snatched at a chance after making space for himself inside the area and shot wide, but it made little difference as Wolfsburg’s unbeaten start to 2015-16 continued.