Wolfsburg - It’s second versus fifth at the Volkswagen Arena on Sunday as VfL Wolfsburg host fellow UEFA Europa League participants Borussia Mönchengladbach (kick-off 14:30 GMT / 15:30 CET).
bundesliga.com looks ahead to what promises to be a thrilling contest in Lower Saxony…
They may be ten points behind FC Bayern München, but the Wolves will stretch their lead over fifth-placed Gladbach to six points if they beat the Foals on Sunday. Lucien Favre’s charges, who went the first ten games of the season unbeaten, are desperate to arrest a run of two straight league defeats.
Luiz Gustavo (pictured) is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the campaign in last Saturday’s defeat to Schalke. Junior Malanda and Maximilian Arnold are in contention to replace the Brazil international. It remains to be seen whether Ricardo Rodriguez (back) and Josuha Guilavogui (groin) will return from their respective injuries.
Rodriguez’s Switzerland team-mate Granit Xhaka (pictured), whose stunning free-kick earned Borussia a 2-2 draw at Villarreal CF in the Europea League on Thursday, was sent off against Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 12 and will serve a one-match suspension. Germany international Christoph Kramer could feature after recovering from a back problem.
Belgium international Kevin De Bruyne (pictured) has been instrumental in the Wolves’ assault on the upper echelons of the Bundesliga table. Only Chelsea FC’s Cesc Fabregas has provided more assists than De Bruyne (nine) in Europe’s top five leagues this season and if Gladbach manage to stifle the 23-year-old’s creativity on Sunday, they might just get a positive result.
He may have inadvertently helped end Gladbach’s 18-match unbeaten run with that spectacular own goal at Borussia Dortmund, but Kramer was conspicuous by his absence against Frankfurt last Saturday. The Foals badly missed the holding midfielder’s presence in the centre of the park and his return to the fold could prove vital this weekend.
Dieter Hecking (pictured, Wolfsburg coach): We played brilliantly against Everton, but we have to work on the little things that didn’t go so well.
Roel Brouwers (Gladbach defender): They’re difficult opponents and it’s no coincidence that they’re second in the table. If we improve another notch, we can get a result.
Wolfsburg’s eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions came to an end in the 3-2 loss to Schalke, which was followed by a 2-0 defeat to Everton FC in the Europa League. The Wolves will be hoping to return to winning ways against a Gladbach side that have lost their last two in the league, but picked up a morale-boosting draw at Villarreal on Thursday.
The last time Gladbach beat Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena was eleven years ago, when the Foals triumphed 3-1 on Matchday 13 of the 2003/04 campaign. The Wolves, who have won their last five league matches in front of their own fans, have emerged victorious in 16 of the 28 meetings between the two teams, with Borussia winning on eight occasions.
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