On Wednesday (kick-off: 18:30 CET) RBL host VfL Wolfsburg in the last 16 of the DFB-Pokal at the Red Bull Arena. In our opponent analysis, we put Die Roten Bullen's upcoming visitors under the microscope.
The road to the last 16 :
In the first round, the Wolves travelled to Regionalliga side SV 07 Elversberg, and progressed with a 1-0 victory thanks to a 76th minute strike from Daniel Ginczek. A north-German derby set the scene for Wolfsburg’s second round fixture, as they were drawn away to Hannover 96. Admir Mehmedi opened the scoring in the 20th minute, and Wout Weghorst secured a 2-0 victory for the visitors with a 93rd minute goal.
Did you know? Last season the Wolves reached the quarter finals of the DFB-Pokal. Having overcome Eintracht Norderstedt (1-0), Hannover 96 (1-0) and 1.FC Nürnburg (2-0), they were knocked out after a 1-0 defeat to FC Schalke 04.
Wolfsburg’s key player Koen Casteels has made eight DFB-Pokal appearances for Wolfsburg, keeping four clean sheets and conceding just four goals. In this season’s campaign, the Belgian is the only goalkeeper to keep two clean sheets in the first two games of the competition. Joint with Eintracht Frankfurt, Wolfsburg have conceded the fifth-lowest number of goals in the Bundesliga.
In attack, summer signing Wout Weghorst has proved to be a successful purchase. The 26-year-old found the back of the net 18 times in 31 games for AZ Alkmaar last season, also assisting a further four goals for his team mates. In the Dutch Cup, he scored nine goals in just six appearances. So far in the DFB-Pokal, Weghorst has racked up one goal and one assist, and has been directly involved in the most goals for VfL, with seven goals and one assist.
Another summer recruit for Wolfsburg was Daniel Ginczek. The former Stuttgart man has scored one goal and assisted two more in his past two outings in the DFB-Pokal. In the Bundesliga, the 27-year-old has managed five goals and three assists in 17 games. The forward will however be ruled out of Wednesday’s clash due to a foot injury.
VfL Wolfsburg have managed to get back to winning ways under Bruno Labbadia. After being involved in the relegation play-off in the past two seasons, the north German side are back on track. With 31 points, the Wolves sit in 6th place in the Bundesliga, and have Europa League qualification firmly in their sights.
Labbadia knows the DFB-Pokal better than most: he has coached 26 cup games, winning 19 and losing seven. He has managed to reach the final on two occasions: in 2008/09 with Bayer Leverkusen, and 2012/13 with VfB Stuttgart, narrowly losing both games.
The last-16 clash will be RBL’s eighth meeting with VfL Wolfsburg, more than any other team. In the previous seven meetings, Die Roten Bullen have prevailed on three occasions, with one draw and three losses. Two of the encounters came in the DFB-Pokal, a 3-2 first round victory in 2011 and a 3-2 loss in the last 16 of 2015.