bundesliga

Wolfsburg Fanzone: Getting to know the Auto City Wolves

Located in northern Germany and famed for its automobile manufacturing, Wolfsburg has also risen to prominence over the past few decades thanks to the city's football team.

History

VfL Wolfsburg was founded on 12 September 1945 as a 'Verein für Leibesübungen' (Club for Physical Activity) – hence the 'VfL' preceding the official club name. With everything in short supply after the end of World War II, the team's colours were determined largely by chance when a local youth welfare worker, Bernward Elberskirch, came across 10 green tops in his hunt for football shirts to use. The Wolves still wear green to this day.

Wolfsburg spent their early years in Germany's regional divisions and Bundesliga 2 before finally earning promotion to the top flight in 1997, where they have remained ever since. The greatest triumph in the club's history arrived in the 2008/09 season when Felix Magath surprisingly led a side spearheaded by Edin Dzeko and Grafite to the Bundesliga title. The next piece of silverware followed in 2015, when a Kevin De Bruyne-inspired team came from behind to beat Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Cup final.

Wolfsburg won their one and only Bundesliga title in spectacular fashion in 2008/09. - 2009 Getty Images

Honours

Bundesliga (2009)
DFB Cup (2015)

Coach

Austrian Oliver Glasner has succeeded Bruno Labbadia as the Wolves’ coach. A centre-back who played over 500 games in his homeland for SV Ried, the club’s honorary captain for life twice won the Austrian Cup as a player. Upon retiring he returned to his hometown to take on the job of assistant coach to Roger Schmidt at Red Bull Salzburg, winning the domestic double in 2014. That summer he went back to Ried as coach before taking over at Linz the following year. He achieved promotion to the top flight in 2017, where the team would go to finish fourth in their maiden campaign. In 2018/19 Glasner led Linz to second place in Austria behind Salzburg prior to his departure for Wolfsburg.

Oliver Glasner succeeds Bruno Labbadia as the Wolfsburg head coach for 2019/20. - imago images / Eibner Europa

Star man

USA international John Brooks is the rock in the Wolfsburg defence but the player who took all the plaudits in 2018/19 was striker Wout Weghorst. The Dutch international took to the Bundesliga like a duck to water following his move from Alkmaar, scoring 17 goals (almost three times as many as the next best) and providing a club-high seven assists. A true poacher in front of goal, the 26-year-old helped propel Wolfsburg from relegation candidates to European qualifiers.

Watch: Weghorst scores a hat-trick and bags two assists to take apart Düsseldorf

Last season

The good times were back at Wolfsburg in 2018/19. After two seasons of battling at the bottom and surviving only by the play-off, the Wolves were on the hunt once more. Labbadia’s side were constantly in the mix for European qualification, which they secured in some style with an 8-1 thrashing of Augsburg on the final day to claim sixth place and a place in the UEFA Europa League group stage for 2019/20.

The stadium

Having well and truly established themselves in the Bundesliga at the end of the 1990s, Wolfsburg commissioned construction of the Volkswagen Arena in 2001. It was officially opened a year later with a capacity of 30,000 (22,000 seating, 8,000 standing).

No detail was overlooked in its design, with the home changing room including massage rooms, saunas, showers and a revitalisation pool. For greater sustainability, the stadium has 216 energy-efficient LED floodlights and a hybrid grass pitch, while there are places for 650 bicycles outside for environmentally friendly fans.

Watch: Inside the Volkswagen Arena

The city

No visit to Wolfsburg would be complete without a visit to the Autostadt, an homage to the car manufacturing industry that has become synonymous with the city. For any motor heads not sated by that, there is also the Volkswagen Auto Museum, which houses a collection of the brand's classic cars.

The Science Center Phaeno is a brilliant way to pass an afternoon, with countless shows  and hands-on exhibits on a range of subjects to keep young and old entertained. Alternatively, the Allerpark – a 130-hectare public park – is an ideal day out, offering activities including football, volleyball, water skiing, mini-golf and camping. Handily, it is only a 15-minute walk from the Volkswagen Arena.

Getting there

There is no airport in Wolfsburg and although nearby Braunschweig (just 15 miles away) has one, it does not offer commercial flights. For international visitors, that means booking a flight to and from Hanover, roughly 55 miles to the west.

The city also lies between the capital Berlin and the populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, meaning frequent high-speed train services pass through Wolfsburg and provide easy transfers from major airports and transport hubs.

- Stadt Wolfsburg

Getting to the Volkswagen Arena

If coming by car from the east or west, take the A2 until exit number 58 (Wolfsburg/Königslutter) and take the A39 towards Wolfsburg/Flechtorf. Follow that road until exit 3 Wolfsburg-West and follow signs to Wolfsburg (L321/Heinrich-Nordhoff-Str), coming off at Berliner Brücke/L322.

If coming from the south on the A7 motorway, take exit 64 at Dreieck Salzgitter and merge onto A39 towards Berlin/Braunschweig/Salzgitter. Follow that road until exit 3 Wolfsburg-West and follow signs to Wolfsburg (L321/Heinrich-Nordhoff-Str), coming off at Berliner Brücke/L322.

If arriving on public transport, note that season tickets are valid for travel on local busses and trains up to four hours before kick-off and for up to three hours after full time. A number of special busses run on matchdays (lines 251-256) – just look for 'Volkswagen Arena' as the destination. Alternatively, the stadium is within walking distance of the city centre. Simply follow the throngs of people making the short 15-minute trip on foot!

Buying tickets

Tickets can still be bought via the official club website HERE.

Can’t make it? Watch here:

If you can’t make it to the stadium, Bundesliga matches are broadcast around the world. FOX Sports and Univision provide coverage in the United States, while BT Sports are the exclusive broadcaster in the United Kingdom. In Germany, Sky Sports show the majority of matches, with Eurosport hosting one match per week.

- VfL Wolfsburg

Buy the kit

You can get your own Wolfsburg jersey from the official club shop.