Wolfsburg – FC Schalke 04 will be hoping for a repeat of their last meeting with VfL Wolfsburg when the two sides face each other at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday (kick-off 15.30 CET).
Point to prove
Jens Keller’s side were the last team to leave Wolfsburg with all three points, beating their hosts 4-1 back in March, but can expect a much sterner examination this time around against a Wolves side boosted by the arrival of former FC Bayern Munich pass master Luiz Gustavo.
The Brazil international was unveiled as a Wolfsburg player on Friday afternoon and left journalists in no doubt that he has made the right move. "VfL Wolfsburg are a top club," said the 26-year-old. "They have a very good project here, that's why I decided to join."
Whether Gustavo starts tomorrow or not, head coach Dieter Hecking is looking forward to die Wölfe's first home match of the season. “We need to put in more effort on the pitch in order to get the fans on our side," he said. "We have to prove we want to win this match at all costs. I’m looking forward to this home game and want to get off to a good start on our own turf."
Schalke megastar Klass-Jan Huntelaar likewise wants to see nothing but focus and fortitude on the pitch on Saturday, following news of UEFA's decision to ban the Royal Blues' Champions League opponents FC Metalist Kharkiv from the competition. "We’re completely focused on the Bundesliga," affirmed the Dutchman. "We’re determined to take three points from Wolfsburg and won’t allow ourselves to be distracted by other matters."
Fans of the Gelsenkirchen-based club witnessed the best and worst of their side last weekend, with head coach Keller understandably keen to write the wrongs of the topsy-turvy 3-3 draw against Hamburger SV. "Our attitude against HSV was spot on. What we have to switch off is our uncertainty," explained the 42-year-old.
Wolfsburg duo Maximilan Arnold and Timm Klose will miss Saturday's match after both were sent off against Hannover 96 last weekend, while Bas Dost has failed to recover from an ankle injury. On a more positive note, Ivan Perisic and Vierinha have returned to full fitness and should be available on Saturday.
Schalke trio Kyriakos Papadopolous, Anthony Annan and Chinedu Obasi all remain sidelined, but Royal Blue hotshot Julian Draxler has recovered from a knock he picked up in die Knappen's opening game against Hamburg and is likely to be given a starting berth at the Volkswagen Arena.
Wolfsburg: Benaglio – Träsch – Naldo – Knoche – Rodriguez – Gustavo, Polak – Vierinha, Diego, Perisic – Olic
Schalke: Hildebrand – Uchida, Matip, Höwedes, Fuchs – Neustädter, J. Jones – Farfan, Draxler, Clemens – Huntelaar