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Wolfsburg 1 United 3

When the draw had just been made in August, most Reds were looking at the fixtures and choosing Wolfsburg as the one to go to, with many also hoping it would be a dead rubber tie. Yet, as United never do things the easy way, we managed to throw away two home games to mean this game actually did matter in terms of winning our group. So off we headed at 4am to Stansted airport to catch a flight to Hannover, all hoping that we could even get a place at right back in the absence of any defenders being fit.

We picked up a minivan at Hannover airport and drove into Hannover to get a bite to eat and have a look around. It was then back on the autobahn to Wolfsburg where we arrived 4 hours before kick off and found nothing to do or nowhere to go in the puring rain. Then we noticed a McDonalds near our parking spot, so we hid in there for a while and waited for the rain to subside. We eventually made our way to the ground via a pedestrian bridge and pathway by the side of a river. It brought us out imidiately by the away section where strict security measures were of course in place.

United had a corner of the stadium with sections in both the lower and upper tiers. We were supposed to be in lower but the fencing and netting made it hard to get a good view of the pitch. Instead we blagged our way into the upper tier and around twenty of us grouped together at the front of the tier where we saw the teamsheet for the first time. It was pretty much as expected but it was still incredibly concerning at the same time, not least knowing Park would be at right back. However, when the teams lined up for kick off it was a different formation and actually looked like a 3-5-2 with the midfield providing a lot of support for the defence. Our line up must have cheered up the Wolfsburg fans, who needed a result to get through the group, and they waved their green and white placards in the air as if we might find it intimidating!

The stadium was pretty good- steep stands, close to the pitch, very little hospitality and no excessive policing/ stewarding measures in place. We were treated well and, as usual, Germany got it spot on with handling English fans. On the picth United were on the back foot and living a little dangerously, until a few minutes before half time when Michael Owen and Nani- my two least favourite current players- combined to give us the lead. We reacted with surprise, as no one really thought we would ever score let alone have a clean sheet by half time. But United relish challenges, and had risen to the occassion in many ways. However, it was not long before Wolfsburg equalised, sparking ridiculous celebrations and over five minutes of tannoy music and cheesy pop tunes with the crowd chanting ‘Diong Dong’ and howling like wolves. All very odd. United just got on with the game and stumbled along, until Obertan came on as a sub and singlehandedly changed the game. He set up two more goals for Owen and ripped the Wolfsburg defence apart- he could be a wonderful player for us and is seriously exciting to watch.

The final whistle sounded and we appaluded the team off the pitch. We were not kept in for once and headed straight out the ground with the German fans all pretty friendly and accepting of their loss. We drove immediately back to Hannover, got a few hours sleep and then boarded a 6am flight home. All in all a pretty uneventful and quick trip, but a fantastic match and thrilling finish well worth travelling for.

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