After Wolfsburg 1 Newcastle 3, when Rafa Benitez was interviewed he didn’t seem to be getting too carried away with the performance or result.

This was in marked contrast to the local (north east) press who were in raptures about the game/display.

Only a friendly – but beating a Bundesliga side away from home and outplaying them for decent spells, should surely have buoyed the United boss a little more.

I thought it was down to his usual manner of trying to treat all games, victories or defeats, in the same way – trying to get not too carried away.

However, then I began to dig a little deeper…

The fact the game was being played at the five thousand capacity reserve stadium should have given us a clue, rather than the impressive Volkswagen Arena.

Also, it all seemed a bit strange playing a glamour friendly against Premier League opposition on a midweek afternoon when everybody is at work.

Then we have the fact that less than three thousand locals bothered to come along and watch.

Before the game, players such as Rob Elliot had said how much they were looking forward to coming up against top quality players such as German star striker Mario Gomez.

Gomez didn’t start the game or even come off the bench – so I looked at who else was/wasn’t playing.

The bottom line, is that Newcastle were playing Wolfsburg reserves, at their reserve stadium, in front of a reserve size crowd.

Of the team who played the final match of last season, a relegation/staying up play-off, only three of those eleven players started against Newcastle yesterday – Joshua Guilavogui,  Yannick Gerhadt and goalscorer Yunus Malli.

After coming so close to relegation last season, Wolfsburg have invested £40m in three star signings: £17m centre-back John Brooks, £13m midfielder Ignacio Camacho and £9m striker Nany Landry Dimata. None of that trio started against Newcastle.

In contrast, Wolfsburg travelled to London last weekend and really gave Fuham the runaround at Craven Cottage, winning 3-0.

Big £17m summer signing John Brooks scored first goal and then star striker Mario Gomez got the other two, almost grabbing a hat-trick.

Wolfsburg played their first team at Fulham, not the reserves (as we saw playing against Newcastle).

Whilst Newcastle fans were looking at this Wolfsburg game as the glamour friendly of pre-season, the German club clearly looked at it as what looks like an extra game they have fitted in late on, to give their reserves/squad players a run out.

The fact that this Sunday they play what they must see as their pre-season home glamour friendly against Fiorentina at the Volkswagen Arena, surely confirms the relative status of the Newcastle match for Wolfsburg.

I am not saying it wasn’t a valuable run out for Newcastle United against Wolfsburg BUT it was a game against the reserves of a club who came within a whisker of being relegated last season.

So nobody should get too carried away with the performance or result, much as they shouldn’t get too dismayed at losing to Mainz and getting a bit of a runaround from them last Saturday.

What I do find strange though, is that even though journalists actually even travelled over from Tyneside for the match, I haven’t seen any mention that this was a game against the Wolfsburg second team. Just over the top reaction to the result and performance.

Nice to see the team put some good moves and goals together against any opposition BUT that doesn’t alter the fact that quality signings are desperately needed in these remaining four weeks of the transfer window.

Wolfsburg 1 Newcastle 3


Newcastle: Mitrovic 38, Ritchie 43, Atsu 68

Wolfsburg: Malli 52

Newcastle United:

Elliot (Darlow 70), Manquillo (Mbemba 70), Lejeune (Lascelles 70), Clark, Dummett (Gamez 70), Ritchie (Aarons 70), Shelvey (c), Hayden (Merino 70), Atsu (Murphy 70), Pérez (De Jong 70), Mitrović (Diame 46)

Crowd: 3,011 (Approx 300 Newcastle)

To read the match ratings of all Newcastle players from win over Wolfsburg go HERE

To watch all the goals an extended highlights of Wolfsburg 1 Newcastle 3 go HERE.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

  • Leazes Ender

    Well done Ben, I had wondered why they were playing on a training pitch when the Chronicle had been showing pictures of the Volkswagen Stadium leading up to the match.

    It sort of puts into the light the whole way Ryder and Co treat United’s supporters….with absolute contempt…. They proclaim today that this is a fantastic result for Rafa……….What!…..using 20 players against a reserve side?

    They have run a similar readership poll to see where the fans think we will end up this season and the results are not too dissimilar to ours 14th-15th but for the glaring exception of First place winners of the League… a whopping SIX percent of Chronicle readers plumped for outright winners……

    In the land of the blind the one eyed man is King!

    • Martin

      The majority of the 6% were voting in jest. Majority of us fans are realists and accept 17th-12th needs to be the aim this season. Unfortunely, as you know better than most, there is a small portion of our fanbase who are incredibly negative and doesn’t matter if we invested £200m in this window, you’d still find a way to moan and be negative.

      • Leazes Ender

        The majority of the 6% didn’t understand the question.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          you really are pathetic Leazes, you are acting like the humiliated school kid who has to have the last word.

          • Leazes Ender


          • Oooh bobbi fleckman


          • Jimblag23


    • NUFCLX

      Your really Anti – Chronicle, I wonder why that is.

  • Jimblag23

    That’s a bit of a p take to not state that as lots of fans would have travelled to Germany especially to watch a competitive match against decent opposition.

    • Leicester Mag

      Mr Busuits in a consumate expert at extracting the urine after all hes had 10 years to practice

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        who? what? Why? you are fast becoming part of the great un-thinking Leazes’ gang

        • Jimblag23

          Well I once watched Bristol Rovers 1st team play Liverpool reserves. It was clearly stated it was Liverpool reserves, otherwise you’d have felt short changed.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            If you are bothered, take it up with Wolfsburg, as we are still in the EU, you can take it through the European legal system. Will Mainz fans sue their club for suggesting it’s NUFC’s first team yet we had a few players who will not play against Tottenham.

          • Mark Potter

            More than a few in the first half. And Ritchie played in that half and wouldn’t have started a competitive match, first game back from injury he was struggling for fitness. We looked a far better side when Atsu, Aarons and then Shelvey came on.

        • Leicester Mag

          Not part of any gang and as for unthinking umm. Truly I’d like to be positive but sorry I see little to be positive about. Compared to the last time we came up we are in my considered opinion a weaker less balanced team and will struggle Rafa or no Rafa. I’m not expecting a net spend of £100M but we are short of 3-4 players in key positions and see again the same time honoured excuses for not addressing these gaps. One day I’d like see a balanced perspective on the good Ashley has done other than the stream we should be grateful we aren’t Leeds articles so prevalent at present. The astute among the fans might have spotted for short while last year that there was virtually no gap between us. So much for being saved a Leeds

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Which key positions?

            We finished comfortably ahead of Leeds, took 3 points away with little danger and the most one-sided draw at St James’.

            Saved from being Leeds? Well, Leeds were, last season at their highest point for 12 years, 12 years of being in the clarts.

            Ashley has consumed the loses, turned around a loss making business and at least got us on an even keel. That may not be that exciting but the mess we were in was frightening.

          • Leicester Mag

            Whereas we’ve had 1 top ten finish and 2 relegations. Living the dream eh? As for an even keel that would be the static earnings, is this an achievement? Few other similar size clubs have performed worse than we have. Everton and others faced similar financial challenges but emerged light years ahead of us. Being saved from hell only to face purgatory is hardly a blessing.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            In what way does a friendly in Germany = the taking of urine from (I assume you mean) Mike Ashley?

            Ashley did not arrange the pre-season friendly, he did not pick the Wolfsburg side and he didn’t take any money for tickets, that was done by Wolfsburg. In other news, Mike Ashley was to blame for Diane Abott’s adding up.

          • Albert Stubbins

            i still think he’d be more effective than Mitro. Give Ashley the incentive of a goal bonus and watch him go!!

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      If you travel 800 miles to see a friendly in a pre-season warm up, you know exactly why you are travelling and it’s not for an edge of the seat competitive game.

  • Leicester Mag

    Like all such friendlies result good or bad matters little. That said some positive points. Cant help though and reflect on the fact that 10 years ago we used to be a top drawer attraction pre season. As football went international Ash went small town.Got to wonder why we were treated to a game at Wolfsburg’s reserve ground.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Jeez, perhaps, just perhaps, Rafa had a big say in how the pre-season preparation went given that it’s our first season back up. He’s already said that going around the world is promoting the brand but not preparing for the season ahead and not something he wanted to do this time.

      • Leicester Mag

        Where in what was written above does it mention globe trotting? Fact is we long since missed the boat in attracting big name opposition pre season. Yet another aspect of the general stagnation of the club over the last decade.

        • Mal

          I think, due to the fact we didn’t know for certain what league we would be in, some of these friendlies were fixed up quite late in the day. Plus I think Rafa didn’t want us travelling long distances pre season. It’s all about getting players up to speed anyway and, as far as the opposition is concerned, we are merely a newly promoted club. Hopefully our reputation will grow from here. HTL

          • Mark Potter

            And the recent tours to US had attracted much criticism. TBH the club can’t win with the knuckledraggers. They’ll moan if the club go abroad, that it’s only to promote SD, they moan if they don’t.

    • Jezza

      Very good point. The international profile of NUFC has declined rapidly since the days of Keegan and then Shearer. Just another symptom of Ashley running the club into the ground.

      • Mark Potter

        Shearer was signed while the club was involved in a Far East tour, to such salubrious opposition as The final game of the tour was in Japan against Gamba Osaka. After problems had seen Shearer required to fly on a separate plane and Asprilla held by customs for lack of a visa,[40] Newcastle produced a very poor performance and were beaten 3-1 after two first half goals from Hans Gillhaus and a second half strike by Vjekoslav Škrinjar. Keegan was extremely critical of his players after the game, telling reporters: “I’m embarrassed. This is a tour before what we hope is going to be a championship winning season [but] very few players came out of this match with any credit. Some of our lads thought it was going to be a canter. I just had to stop watching in the second-half. It was poor. As simple as that”.

  • anyobrien

    No one gets carried away.. Just the mag moaning bed wetters when we have not signed 11new players for a total of 11 billion quid… Ffs it’s a friendly a run out just like when we lose its no big deal.

    • Leazes Ender

      Well the Chronicle boys certainly went over the top didn’t they, proclaiming this side to be a Bundesliga club…… you know I didn’t check it out, I just took their word for it…… today they are still saying this is a great moment for Rafa….. how? They sent three reporters on a jolly to cover it.

      Hell of a long and expensive trip for a Currywurst.

      • TheFatController

        How can you false advertise a pre-season friendly that features any combination of first team squad players?

        You’d have to provide evidence that the majority of teams in pre-season friendlies do play strong teams with few substitutions, and thus had reasonable right to expect Wolfsburg to play a first eleven.

        Good luck with that…

        • Leazes Ender

          Why are you so defensive?

          • TheFatController

            That’s not defensive, nor embarrassing. Why are you always persecuting people would be where I’d be starting if I were you. Because I can tell you persecuting rltlessly as you do does equal a defensive stance – google it if you want the facts on that.

            Google ‘if I constantly put people down as inferior does that mean I’m actually in denial about my own feelings of inferiority, and am really acting defensively having learnt attack is the best form of defence?’

            I want to help you, it’s not healthy the way you are on here …

          • Leazes Ender

            Are you in control or just a fat head?

  • TheFatController

    Given that most teams pre season play most of or any combination their 25 man squad in each game, I am a little less shocked at your revelation than you might like to think would be the case ….

    Maybe right now some Wolfsburg forum blogger is saying ‘and they didn’t even have last season’s top scorer or the new striker they are rumoured to be chasing’….?

    • Jimblag23

      Squad rotation and reserves are a completely different thing.
      Reserves have generally zero or limited 1st team experience, squad players normally get 10-15 appearances a season.

      • TheFatController

        Fair enough if someone can qualify that their team was the equivalent of our U23s with Gomez on the bench

  • Steve Pearce

    What an insult!

    “Ve vill show those Geordie hooligans vat ve think of them and their untermensch supporters” It’s just as well the reserve stadium was available as we’d probably been have playing at VW’s number 10 car park and using the canteen bogs as a dressing room otherwise…..

  • hetonmag

    Who gives a stuff did anyone before or even after the game know any of their player’s apart from maybe Gomez, these games is all about getting people fit and ready for the season ahead.

    • Leazes Ender

      Ryder and Co did…. but they omitted to tell anyone who actually went.

  • breenebass

    It really is rather depressing that our own fans, after a pre-season matchare looking for ways to discredit and disjoint any harmony or optimism currently flowing through our club.

    When people discuss the best and worse elements of our club- the fans are often first and MA worst. I would argue that our fans cover the entite spectrum- They are among the best AND worst football teams in the world.

  • TheNutJob

    The fans stitched up again, nowt new there then

  • Lord

    There I was thinking it was good Mitro scored (even if he missed 3 others) and got game time / shop window time and Atsu played well and Lejeune + Clark looked solid.

    But now I’m annoyed we didn’t win 9-1.

    Roll on Spurs.

  • Leazes Ender

    Miles Starforth German Diary: Day 2:….. Had beer, and went to Volkswagen Arena…. nobody in….. followed signs…. went around the corner and came across a game of fussball whatever that is, there were some United fans there from Backworth equally lost….. they’d been there since the war.

  • Humble

    Well Newcastle had there reserves out as well so pointless column

    • Jimblag23

      Pretty sure I remember seeing Shelvey, Ritchie, Atsu, Murphy, Clarke, Elliot, Darlow, Hayden, Mitro, Lejuane, Dummett I could go on.
      Doesn’t sound like the reserves.

  • Cuh736

    Bulls#@t like this makes me want to quit the mag

    • Leazes Ender

      Bye… you won’t be missed as you contribute nowt, couldn’t you even be bothered with a name?

      • Cuh736

        I’ve a few articles, but what would you know about that? Probably skipped straight to the comments to whinge about Mike

        • Leazes Ender

          To be totally honest I hadn’t noticed….. what were they about?

          • Cuh736

            Positivity, realism, making the club better. Nothing you’re interested in.

  • Wor Lass

    Who`s actually bothered whether it was mainly second stringers who started the game? It`s what clubs do. It`s also better to play in a small stadium that`s nearly full than a massive one that`s nearly empty. I don`t often stand up for the Chronicle in any way but they did point out in various articles that they were playing in the reserve arena.

  • disqus_GFJ5SSXQ7o

    This is why people think this site is a joke, desperate for the club to fail and any positivity, even just a run of the mill small friendly win is negative

    • Leazes Ender

      Define positivity? …..couldn’t you even be bothered with a name…. or do you just get bored making them up and hit a few keys?

      • Mark Potter

        The degree to which something is positive.

  • Wor Lass

    Who`s actually bothered whether it was mainly second stringers who started the game? It`s what clubs do. It`s also better to play in a small stadium that`s nearly full than a massive one that`s nearly empty. I don`t often stand up for the Chronicle in any way but they did point out in various articles that they were playing in the reserve arena.
    On a lighter note, I remember Wolfsburg having a manager called Wolfgang Wolf. With Arsene being at Arsenal it looked like a trend for managers to be chosen for their similarity in name to the club and/or town. Apparently, Sunderland couldn`t persuade Stefan Kuntz to take the job.

  • I wondered why I’ve never heard of any of the WVB players on the pitch.
    We were playing kids for God’s sake. I hope Verona field their A-team at least.
    Against an Italian side we will see how good our defense is on the counter and we can pressure their defenders. Mitro again proves he can only score against low-grade opposition, but was that Rafa’s intention all along? Maybe he’s still playing a few names to get them sold?

    • Cuh736

      He’s scored against Man united, and city before. True, only low grade opposition

  • Ross Harrison

    We may have been playing kids, but you can only beat what is in front of you, which we did comfortably. It doesn’t matter whether they played their first team or not because either way it adds that extra bit of confidence. Ritchie won’t care who he scored his free kick against, because he showed the ability to score them. Mitro and Atsu won’t care who they scored against, because they showed Rafa they can put it in the net. I’m taking the win, quite happy with it, and moving on to the next game.

  • Haitchdee

    Why all the negative posting,You can only beat what the opposition put out. We switched players around. Pleased we are back in the premier league but wouldn’t hock the club for a couple of “Star players “Alan Sheared isn’t available now but probably still better than some of these 25 million + players. If we get another striker and defender great. If we don’t,Crack on until January.