Wout Weghorst is pointing Wolfsburg in the right direction for UEFA Champions League football next season. - © /
Wout Weghorst is pointing Wolfsburg in the right direction for UEFA Champions League football next season. - © /
bundesliga

Wout Weghorst: MD25's Man of the Matchday has Wolfsburg on course for the UEFA Champions League

When Wolfsburg's nine-game unbeaten streak came to an end with a 2-1 defeat at Hoffenheim on Matchday 24, their unlikely push for UEFA Champions League football next season seemed to be over.

Fast-forward just one week and the Wolves are not only back in the hunt for a place back at European football's top table next season - they are openly declaring that as their aim for the remainder of the season.

Wout Weghorst is leading that charge both on and off the field, scoring one and setting up a further two in Saturday's 5-0 win over Schalke - their biggest win under Oliver Glasner and one which preserved a six-point cushion between the Wolves and fifth-placed Borussia Dortmund - and subsequently stating unequivocally that his team mean business.

"We're standing their now and we have to continue, we have to fight for it - that's clear," Weghorst told bundesliga.com. "It has to be a goal and it is a goal now because if you stand there with nine games left.

"We've got to focus and think game to game, but definitely we'll fight for our place in the Champions League. To be honest, I've been saying it right from the beginning, and it's nice that it's actually possible."

With his 16 goals this season - the same number the entire Schalke first team have managed - Weghorst is now only one shy of half a century of Bundesliga goals.

Crucially, Saturday's strike saw him score on consecutive weekends after snapping a 435-minute drought, and you certainly would not now bet against him beating his personal best for a single Bundesliga season of 17. Glasner for one is backing his No9.

"He scored a great goal and I'm sure a few more will come," he said. "What I'm particularly pleased about, though, are his two assists."

Weghorst has already found the back of the net at least once against all of Wolfsburg's remaining opponents this season, with Dortmund the only exception. In the race for a top-four finish, Matchday 31 might prove to be the perfect time for him to break his duck against the Westphalians, with Champions League qualification potentially riding on the result of that game.

The last time the Champions League anthem played in the VW-Arena, Maximilian Arnold put the finishing touch to a 2-0 win over Real Madrid back in April 2016. The Spanish side overturned that defeat with a 3-0 victory at the Estadio Bernabeu, but such royalty could soon be back in Lower Saxony.

"If you look at the table, then, of course, it's looking really good," said Ridle Baku. "We're third and we know it, and of course we want to defend our position."

They will attempt that with a total of 27 points up for grabs from their games against Werder Bremen, Cologne, Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern Munich, VfB Stuttgart, Dortmund, Union Berlin, RB Leipzig and Mainz.

Watch: Weghorst: "The Champions League is our goal"

With 12 points separating them from Stuttgart in eighth, Glasner is mindful that at least a place in next season's UEFA Europa League is within their grasp.

"We're pretty high up there, but we've got to keep on training hard and ensure that the lads keep playing as a team, irrespective of the situation," he said. "If we do that, then I do think we will finish in the top five or six.

"The important thing is we enjoy this, have a nice weekend and then focus on our next task."

And what a weekend it was for Wolfsburg and Wout Weghorst, Matchday 25's Man of the Matchday.