For the first time since ending his 14-year spell with the club in the summer, Julian Draxler will face off with his former FC Schalke 04 side as part of a VfL Wolfsburg outfit looking to put their miserable away form behind them and pick up a first win of the calendar year (kick-off: 15.30CET/14.30GMT).
Saturday's hosts bounced back to winning ways courtesy of a 2-0 victory over SV Darmstadt 98 last time out, a game in which Knappenschmiede graduates Leroy Sane and Max Meyer stole the show. The result saw the Royal Blues close the gap on third-placed Hertha Berlin to just three points, and picking up a victory over the Wolves would go a long way to underlining their top-four ambitions.
Dieter Hecking's side have the same ambitions, but have thus far failed to arrest their dip in form at the start of 2016 and, following their 1-1 draw with 1. FC Köln, are now
The reverse fixture on Matchday 3 was Julian Draxler's last for Schalke before he joined Wolfsburg, but it was Bas Dost who volleyed the Wolves in front, with Ricardo Rodriguez and Timm Klose also on the mark.
Matchday 20 - match facts
- After their Matchday 19 win over Darmstadt, Schalke are up to fifth in the Bundesliga – their highest position since Matchday 12.
- Last weekend's 1-1 draw with Köln has extended Wolfsburg's winless streak to six matches (three draws, three defeats). That is their longest winless run in over three years.
- Wolfsburg are currently bottom of the league table on recent away form, with just six points from their nine away matches.
- Schalke have a poor record against the Bundesliga sides who have been involved in Europe this season, picking up just one point from six matches.
- Draxler spent 14 years with Schalke and is the youngest Royal Blue debutant and goalscorer.
- Meyer has benefitted from Draxler's departure, starting all 16 games since the latter left.
- Diego Benaglio is set for his 300th game for Wolfsburg. His debut, on 30 January 2008, was also against Schalke.
- That was a DFB Cup fixture and he was decisive in the penalty shoot-out, keeping out an effort from Mladen Krstajic as Wolfsburg progressed.
Schalke: Fährmann - Junior Caicara, Matip, Neustädter, Kolasinac - Geis, Goretzka - Sane, Meyer, Choupo-Moting - Huntelaar
Absentees: Uchida (knee), Nastastic (Achilles tendon), Höger (knee ligaments), Höwedes (muscle fibres), Aogo (light training)
Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Jung, Naldo, Dante, Rodriguez - Träsch, Guilavogui - Vieirinha, Draxler - Kruse - Schürrle
Absentees: Dost (broken foot), Ascues (meniscus)