Only a win will do when VfL Wolfsburg welcome FC Augsburg to the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday (kick-off: 15:30CEST/13:30GMT).
Wolfsburg's 3-2 defeat to SV Werder Bremen all but ended their hopes of returning to the UEFA Champions League next season, but a UEFA Europa League finish remains a distinct possibility. With the three teams directly above them all six points better off and only two Europa League spots available, however, Dieter Hecking's eighth-placed charges simply must deliver on Matchday 31.
Visitors Augsburg have certainly succeeded on that front of late following back-to-back wins over Bremen and VfB Stuttgart. Markus Weinzierl's side now have the comfort of a two-point cushion on the , but are by no stretch of the imagination safe yet. Should they lose in Wolfsburg, Die Fuggerstädter could wind up occupying the relegation play-off spot with only three rounds of fixtures remaining.
Matchday 14 rewind:Augsburg 0-0 Wolfsburg
Matchday 31 - match stats
- After VfB Stuttgart, Wolfsburg have been the weakest team in the Bundesliga over the last five matchdays, dropping 13 points and conceding nine goals in that time.Augsburg's 1-0 win over VfB Stuttgart last Saturday was their second in a row. It was the first time Weinzerl's side had won back-to-back games in 2016, and lifted them from 16th to 14th. Augsburg have won five away games this season, but each time has been against a team in the bottom half of the table. Wolfsburg have only won two of their previous eight games at their Volkswagen Arena. Only FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund have a better Bundesliga record against Wolfsburg than Augsburg do. Augsburg have three wins, four draws and two defeats against the Wolves.In Ja-Cheol Koo, Daniel Baier, Marwin Hitz, Caiuby and Alexander Esswein, Augsburg have five former Wolfsburg players in their squad.Wolfsburg have conceded only two goals from set pieces this season. However, Hecking's men have conceded 39 from open play - the fourth-worst record in the league.Having picked up his fifth yellow card in Matchday 30's 3-2 loss at Bremen, Andre Schürrle - Wolfsburg's top scorer in the Rückrunde with six - is suspended for the first time in his Bundesliga career.Ausgburg's winter signing Alfred Finnbogason has already scored five goals in ten games, and four in the last five.Wolfsburg forward Max Kruse has only scored one goal in his last 17 Bundesliga games.
Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Träsch, Naldo, Dante, Rodriguez - Guilavogui, Gustavo - Henrique, Arnold, Caligiuri - Dost
Absentees: Schürrle (suspended), Vieirinha (ankle), Draxler (thigh), Jung (knee)
Coach: Dieter Hecking
Augsburg: Hitz - Opare, Gouweleeuw, Klavan, Max - Baier - Caiuby, Altintop, Feulner, Koo - Finnbogason
Absentees: Kohr (suspended), Callsen-Bracker (broken leg), Esswein (thigh), Moravek, Ji (both light training)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl