VfL Wolfsburg: The Wolves bounced back from defeat against Hoffenheim to record wins over Schalke and Werder Bremen before international duty came calling. The win against Bremen and a helping hand from FC meant that they went eight points clear of fifth. Oliver Glasner’s men are hoping to earn a Champions League place for the first time since finishing runners-up in the 2014-15 campaign.
1. FC Köln: Markus Gisdol’s charges headed into the international break after a hard-fought 2:2 draw against Borussia Dortmund, with Erling Haaland’s late goal earning a share of the spoils. FC will be hoping for a similarly impressive performance this afternoon against another strong side. Gisdol will no doubt remind the players of the game earlier in the season, when the two teams played out an exciting draw.
Oliver Glasner: “Köln are the first step on the home straight and we want to make a successful one. In the last game before the international break against Dortmund, Köln showed that it will not be easy. Köln are always dangerous, they are well organised, can be a threat and cause problems from set-pieces. We are warned and know that we must be on our guard.”
Markus Gisdol: “The challenge against Wolfsburg could hardly be greater. They are having an outstanding season. Together with Leipzig, Wolfsburg are the best at Gegenpressing and on the counter. They are disciplined against the ball and creative going forward. It is also a team that have great individuals. I have to give Wolfsburg a lot of praise. We need a really good performance.”
VfL Wolfsburg: Oliver Glasner has three absentees for today’s game. Swiss duo, Admir Mehmedi and Renato Steffen are both out injuried, while Paulo Otavio is serving the third of his four-game suspension after being sent off against Hoffenheim.
1. FC Köln: The match will come too soon for Sebastiaan Bornauw as he continues to work his way back from his back surgery. Jan Thielmann’s muscle problems will also keep him out of the tussle. Sebastian Andersson and Florian Kainz have trained with the team throughout the international break and could play a part this afternoon.
Wout Weghorst has been his reliable self for Wolfsburg this season. After scoring 17 goals in his first season and following that up with 16 last term, the towering Dutchman has notched up 17 already this campaign. Weghorst notched up his 50th Bundesliga goal for the Wolves just before the international break and will be keen to keep up his good form against FC. Weghorst has scored in two of his three meetings with FC.
FC are unbeaten in their two most recent tussles against Wolfsburg, with both games in Köln. FC won 3:1 in the 2019-20 season before a 2:2 draw at the start of December last year. However, it is 11 years since the last Köln win in Wolfsburg. Kevin Pezzoni, Adil Chihi and Sebastian Freis were on the scoresheet that day in a 3:2 win at the Volkswagen Arena.
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