Bundesliga Match Preview: VfL Wolfsburg v Borussia Mönchengladbach

Following wins over Eintracht Frankfurt and VfB Stuttgart, Wolfsburg are in a much healthier position than they were with talk of crisis and possibly Nico Kovac’s position being in jeopardy now dissipating. Die Wölfe are however far from out of the woods and this weekend provides another stern test as they host Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Lying in 13th place on nine points Wolfsburg are just one bad result and others winning from getting sucked back down towards the bottom three. The win against Stuttgart was only achieved with a last-gasp winner, although last time out against Augsburg they were denied three points by a heroic display by stand-in goal Tomas Koubek.

The return of Yannick Gerhardt to first team action has brought instant results with two goals in the last two games (he’s never scored more than two in a season). They haven’t beaten the Foals in their last five attempts, but they are an opponent they like having won more Bundesliga points (75) against them than any other team.

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Mönchengladbach provided the perfect response to their debacle at the Weser Stadion on matchday 8 with a 5-2 win over rivals Köln in last weekend’s Rheinderby. Helped by the sending off of Florian Kainz and the penalty just before half time, the Foals nonetheless deserved their win and go into the game with Wolfsburg on a high.

Gladbach (sadly for them) don’t have European midweek action to distract them, so the team should be fresher than the likes of Frankfurt and Leverkusen. The European places are where Daniel Farke is aiming for this season and following up last week’s win with another will probably propel Gladbach into the top four if results elsewhere go their way.

They do however have it in their locker to come undone as they did against Werder, so consistency id the key and converting more of their chances.

Team news:

VfL Wolfsburg

Lukas Nmecha is itching for a return following the injury absence caused on international duty with Germany. If he returns, Omar Marmoush will move to the left. Paulo Otavio has a slight thigh injury and could require van de Ven to cover meaning Sebastiaan Bornauw would come into the defence.

Possible line-up: Casteels, Baku, Lacroix, van de Ven, Otavio, Arnold, Svanberg, Gerhardt, Wimmer, Marmoush, Nmecha

Borussia Mönchengladbach

The ankle injury sustained last week in the derby might keep Christoph Kramer out of this one. Alassane Plea could come in with Lars Stindl moving in to cover Kramer’s new advanced position. Otherwise, there are no new worries for Daniel Farke with Ko Itakura, Hannes Wolf and Florian Neuhaus all longer-term absentees,

Possible line-up: Sommer, Scally, Friedrich, Elvedi, Bensebaini, Weigl, Koné, Hofmann, Stindl, Thuram, Plea

What they’re saying:

VfL Wolfsburg

Niko Kovac:

Nico Kovac: “Tomorrow we have our tenth game of the season. If you divide it into two stages, then we got two points in the first and seven in the second. Now we can get to ten points tomorrow. If we can do that, it will be a very good yield.

“In the last few weeks we have improved in many areas. We can still improve football-wise, but the team is making progress in terms of tactics. But we should expand the exploitation of chances. A few weeks ago we talked about not creating many opportunities. Now we have a certain number of chances, good chances too, but we don’t take enough of them.

“Gladbach is doing extremely well this season. The last game was also very good, although I don’t want to overrate the second half because Cologne only played with ten men. Maybe it suits us that we’re playing against a strong team that comes less from physique than from technology. In any case, we will meet a strong team that wants to have the ball a lot and has solutions going forward. Now we have to take these solutions away from the enemy, but also find our own.”

Borussia Mönchengladbach

Daniel Farke: “We expect a difficult game. Wolfsburg have a very strong squad and players with lots of individual quality. They also have a very experienced coach in Niko Kovac. They haven’t started the season as they would have liked but that can give you a bit of a wake-up call. This all points towards a reaction and their past performances also speak for that. They are starting to pick up some momentum and we will approach the game with the necessary respect.

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“They have a very clear way of playing football and a clear idea of how they want to create chances. It hasn’t been effective in every game so far, otherwise they would have more points. You can, however, see that they are on the right path and it won’t be easy to create chances on Saturday. They are also a side with lots of quality, they play with a high-tempo and use the ball well. We will have to get it right tactically on the day and defend well in order to quell any threat.

“I don’t think our away performances have been drastically different to our home performances. On the contrary. Apart from the first half against Bremen we have been pretty steady away from home. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that not many teams get a point away at Bayern. Not many teams will dominate Freiburg for 60 minutes and take a point off them at home. We were 2-1 up against Schlake until the last minute. We’ve come close a couple of times away from home. We want to also put in a good performance in Wolfsburg.”

Form:

VfL Wolfsburg

08.10.22  Augsburg (a) 1-1 D  (Bundesliga)

01.10.22  VfB Stuttgart (h) 3-2 W  (Bundesliga)

18.09.22  Union Berlin (a) 2-0 L  (Bundesliga)

10.09.22  Eintracht Frankfurt (a) 0-1 W  (Bundesliga)

03.09.22  Köln (h) 2-4 L  (Bundesliga)

Borussia Mönchengladbach

09.10.22  Köln (h) 5-2 W  (Bundesliga)

01.10.22  Werder Bremen (a) 5-1 L  (Bundesliga)

17.09.22  RB Leipzig (h) 3-0 W  (Bundesliga)

11.09.22  Freiburg (a) 0-0 D  (Bundesliga)

04.09.22  Mainz (h) 0-1 L  (Bundesliga)

Last time:

The corresponding fixture last season took place on matchday 7 with Mönchengladbach coming away from the Volkswagen Arena with a 3-1 victory. Breel Embolo and Jonas Hofmann scored in the opening ten minutes before Luca Waldschmidt pulled one back.

The match had a crazy finish with Maxence Lacroix sent off for a second booking on 76 minutes, Lars Stindl missing a penalty two minutes later and Jerome Roussillon having a red card rescinded in the 82nd minute. A 95th minute goal from Joe Scally ensured the drama carried on till the end and Gladbach left with all three points.

Players to watch:

VfL Wolfsburg

Yannick Gerhardt had to wait a while for his return to Bundesliga action following injury, but he scored on his return against VfB Stuttgart with a last-minute winner and added another last week at Augsburg. He’s never scored more than two in a season, so a goal against Gladbach would have him in unchartered territory.

Borussia Mönchengladbach

Ramy Bensebaini defended like a Regionalliga player against Werder, but last week (and in previous weeks) showed his real quality. It is no wonder he is being linked with a move to a ‘bigger’ club as he is potentially the best left-back in the Bundesliga right now. Gladbach will do very well to hold onto him for very much longer.

About Mathew Burt 531 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball

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