What a difference four days make – there were no dressing room selfies in the Volkswagen Arena for Real Madrid after they went down 2-0 in Germany and now face Champions League elimination.
They started the game with a confident post-Clasico swagger but limped out of it having completely under-estimated the team currently placed eighth in the Bundesliga.
Gareth Bale was comfortably Real Madrid’s best player but Julian Draxler was in inspired form for the home side and Zinedine Zidane had lined his team up with no apparent plan as to how to contain him with Danilo back in the side at right-back and having a night to forget.
Wolfsburg: Benaglio, Vieirinha, Naldo, Dante, Rodriguez, Guilavogui, Gustavo, Bruno Henrique (Trasch), Arnold, Draxler, Schurrle.
Subs: Casteels, Schafer, Ascues, Kruse, Dost, Knoche.
Booked: Vieirinha, Gustavo, Arnold. Benaglio
Goals: Rodriguez (pen) 18', Arnold 25'
Real Madrid: Navas, Danilo, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Modric (Isco), Casemiro, Kroos (Rodriguez), Bale, Benzema (Jese), Ronaldo.
Subs: Casilla, Nacho, Carvajal, Lucas.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)
Madrid started brightly with Bale and Ronaldo running amok. Ronaldo had the ball in the net but was harshly flagged offside when he looked level with the last defender and Bale cut in from the right and had a penalty claim turned down. He then popped up on the left to cross for Ronaldo at the near post only for Diego Benaglio to smother at the Portuguese forward's his feet.
Wolfsburg threatened on the break and when Draxler got away down the left he crossed and Bruno Henrique tested Keylor Navas with a volley.
The bad news for Madrid was that Benezma had twisted his knee earlier on and needed treatment. He might have scored from Casemiro's fine through pass but his effort was saved by Benaglio and Jese was sent to warm up as the Frenchman continued to grimace.
Real still had the early control and it was only being broken by Draxler’s running down the Madrid right. It was from another of his breakaways that Wolfsburg’s goal came. He crossed for André Schürrle who appeared to trip himself up under pressure from Casemiro and referee Gianluca Rocchi pointed to the spot.
The penalty was debatable but the execution was not with Ricardo Rodriguez emphatically sending Navas the wrong way.
It ended Navas' 736 minutes without conceding in the Champions League and no sooner had Madrid let in their first goal of the tournament than the second one arrived. Draxler again dazzled down the left with no one closing him down. He switched the play to the right where Henrique crossed for Maximilian Arnold to score past Navas.
Madrid tried to compose themselves and Bale crossed brilliantly from the left but Benzema sent his header wide of the far post. The Frenchman was still struggling and it was mystery why Madrid had not made a change.
Just as Wolfsburg were looking for Draxler at every opportunity so Real Madrid were picking out Bale as often as they could and his whipped cross from the left found the head of Ronaldo but he could not beat Benaglio. He was not having his greatest night after Saturday’s winner in the Camp Nou. Ronaldo won a free-kick on the edge of the area but fired it straight into the Wolfsburg wall.
You know things are bad when Luka Modric is hooked and his number came up on 64 minutes. Casemiro was left on the pitch and his nightmare continued when he gave the ball away and only a last-ditch challenge from Sergio Ramos prevented Schürrle scoring.
Bale was booked for arguing with Arnold after he clashed with Marcelo. The Wolfsburg midfielder also went into the book, Marcelo had thrown himself down holding his face hoping for a red but the card was yellow.
Both Ronaldo and Bale tested Benaglio late-on but there was no way back into the game and Real Madrid now need to score three at the Bernabeu next Tuesday to stay in the tournament.