Summary

  • Wolfsburg finished last season in eighth place.
  • Hecking expected to lead the club back into Europe.
  • Bruma, Didavi and Mayoral arrive; Schürrle and Naldo depart.

With not long until the 2016/17 Bundesliga season gets under way in earnest, it is high time to put each club's upcoming campaign under the microscope. Accordingly, bundesliga.com's previews will provide you with all you need to know ahead of the big kick-off on 26 August…

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Next up are VfL Wolfsburg

Big question

With no European football as a distraction this term, can Wolfsburg capitalise in the Bundesliga and mount a serious top-four push?

The Wolves impressed at the continent's top table last season, reaching the last eight of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the club's history and going out narrowly to Real Madrid CF by a 3-2 aggregate scoreline.

That alone, however, was not enough to salvage a poor domestic campaign, in which Wolfsburg's DFB Cup defence ended in the second round at the hands of FC Bayern München.

Watch: check out the highlights from Wolfsburg's summer tour of China

Things were little better in the league, as Dieter Hecking's side ended the season in eighth – six places away from their runners-up finish in 2014/15 – and with the second-worst away record (W3 D4 L10).

The summer departures of Andre Schürrle and Naldo have made Hecking's task of steering the Wolves back into the top four harder than it otherwise would have been, but there are several exciting young arrivals chomping at the bit for a chance to impress.

New faces

Borja Mayoral has joined the Wolves from Real Madrid. © imago

Chief among those new arrivals is Jeffrey Bruma, a 24-year-old centre-back who arrives from PSV Eindhoven for his second spell in the Bundesliga after spending two years at Hamburger SV between 2011 and 2013. He was joined at the Volkswagen Arena by Polish star Jakub Blaszczykowski, who signed from Borussia Dortmund.

Borja Mayoral, a young forward loaned in from Real Madrid, will provide stiff competition for Bas Dost up front, while dynamic attacking midfielder Daniel Didavi was one of VfB Stuttgart's few standout players as the Swabians went down last season.

Yannick Gerhardt completes the freshly minted youthful trio, the central midfielder signing a five-year deal at the Volkswagen Arena after arriving from 1. FC Köln.

Coach

Dieter Hecking is charged with leading Wolfsburg back into Europe. © gettyimages / Nigel Treblin

Hecking's 2014/15 campaign with Wolfsburg wrote him into club history: he led the Wolves to a maiden DFB Cup success as well as a fine second-place finish. Last season, the former 1. FC Nürnberg supremo took his side to the Champions League last eight, but they struggled in the Bundesliga, finishing a disappointing eighth.

With no European football this term, there are no excuses for the Wolves, and the question for Hecking is whether he can repeat his 2014/15 heroics and help to establish Wolfsburg as serious, long-term challengers to Bayern and Borussia Dortmund at the top.

Key man

Watch: Julian Draxler features in 2015/16's best assists

Julian Draxler underlined his prodigious talent at UEFA EURO 2016, chipping in with a goal and an assist as Germany reached the semi-finals. The attacking midfielder also shone on the continent for Wolfsburg last season, scoring three goals in the Wolves' memorable run to the last eight of the Champions League.

For his club this term, though, the only focus is on the domestic game, where the 22-year-old has often only been able to shine in fits and starts. The departure of Schürrle leaves Draxler in sole charge of the Wolves' creativity, with his side now looking to him to step up and embrace that responsibility.

Pre-season form

Most recent first: LDLW

Key dates

Wolfsburg kick off their season with a trip to FC Augsburg, before welcoming Dortmund on Matchday 4. Hecking's troops head to Munich to face Bayern on Matchday 14 and Borussia Mönchengladbach for their following away game on Matchday 16.

Click here to see Wolfsburg's full schedule

Home ground

A purpose-built, 30,000-seater stadium, the Volkswagen Arena is home to the Wolves.

Watch: get to know the Volkswagen Arena in the exclusive video tour below