bundesliga.com presents everything you need to know ahead of the encounter at Goodison Park...
The Wolves are back in European action for the first time since the 2009/10 season, when they were dumped out of the Europa League by Fulham FC (pictured). Considered the two strongest sides in Group H, this game represents an opportunity for both to send out a statement of intent to the rest of the competition.
Midfield heartbeat “should be fit to play” according to coach Dieter Hecking after hurting his knee during Saturday’s 1-1 draw in Hoffenheim. Portuguese playmaker Vieirinha is likely to be ready following a foot injury sustained on international duty, but attackers Ivan Perisic and Bas Dost will play no part due to a lack of match fitness as they approach their comebacks from injury.
The hosts have several members of their first team squad in the treatment room, with Steven Pienaar (groin) and Tony Hibbert (knock) definitely out, while veterans Sylvain Distin (hip) and Samuel Eto’o (groin) are doubtful. However, the starting XI that beat West Bromwich Albion FC 2-0 at the weekend are all fit and available for selection.
Everton are a well-organised side, but have been vulnerable at the back this season, conceding ten in four league games and keeping just one clean sheet. As such, the ability of Wolfsburg’s creative outlet in exposing any weaknesses in the home defence will be crucial to the Wolves’ chances of picking up any points.
The Wolfsburg backline will have their work cut out keeping Everton frontman Romelu Lukaku at bay. The former Chelsea striker is a tall, powerful presence in attack who excels at holding the ball up and bringing team-mates into the game. He scored his first Premier League goal of the campaign against West Brom at the weekend and is particularly dangerous at set-pieces.
: “Everton are a good team and especially at home they’re very strong. On Thursday I’m looking to score to help us win.”
Roberto Martinez: “I’ve been really impressed by Wolfsburg. They’re a well-structured team and the midfielders give really good balance to the side, and experience.”
Wolfsburg are yet to win in the Bundesliga this season, having lost to FC Bayern München and drawn with Eintracht Frankfurt and 1899 Hoffenheim. Everton, meanwhile, earned just two points from their opening three matches before recording their first league win of the campaign at the weekend.