Cologne - VfL Wolfsburg travel to Portugal this Thursday looking to complete their passage to the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League and continue a successful season on all fronts.

The Wolves face Sporting Clube de Portugal (kick-off 21:05 CET / 20:05 GMT) defending a two-goal cushion from the first leg and confident of keeping their three-pronged assault on silverware, including the DFB Cup and Bundesliga, alive and kicking. bundesliga.com previews the action...

If Wolfsburg are to make it as far as they did back in 2010, when their European tour ended in the last eight, they must defend a 2-0 lead from the first leg at the VW-Arena a week ago. Sporting, who lifted the then UEFA Cup back in 2005, reached the semi-finals three years ago, but have a mountain to climb to overturn the deficit on home soil.

After an apparent falling-out with the club president, defender Jefferson (r.), who scored against FC Schalke 04 in the UEFA Champions League earlier this season, is currently training separately from the first team and is unlikely to feature on Thursday. Coach Marco Silva also has a doubt about striker Islam Slimani but midfielder Custodio could feature.

With the advantage from the first leg, Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking may consider using Thursday's trip to give some of his regulars a much-needed rest in view of the weekend's trip to SV Werder Bremen, meaning (l.), and may all get some action from the start.

A Champions League winner with Manchester United FC, Nani (r.) returned to his first club Sporting in the summer and was regarded as a major transfer coup. His four goals in the Champions League this year were not enough to prevent Sporting from slipping into the Europa League, where he is searching for his first goal.

With eight goals in eight days, and more strikes (nine) than any other player in Europe since the end of January, Bas Dost (l.) is truly on fire. He scored both goals in the first leg and comes into this one on the back of another brace in a league win over Hertha Berlin.

Adrien Silva (Sporting midfielder): "Our goal is always to win. The team is read for the challenge."

Dieter Hecking (Wolfsburg coach, r.): "It's going to be risky - I expect a hostile atmosphere. I just hope we score another goal."

Wolfsburg have practically forgotten what it is like to lose a game. Their last defeat was three months ago almost to the day, against Everton FC. Since then, they have won nine and drawn three, amassing 13 points in their last five Bundesliga games, including a 4-1 win over leaders FC Bayern München. Sporting's win at the weekend was their first in three, after an eight-game winning streak ended with a draw against SL Benfica.

Last week's meeting in Wolfsburg was the first between the two sides, and the Wolves' first game against Portuguese opponents. Sporting are better versed in facing German sides, although they have won only two of 21 previous meetings with Bundesliga clubs, losing 14.

Possible line-ups:

Sporting: Rui Patricio - Soares, Sarr, Oliveira, Andre Martins - Nani, Adrien Silva, Joao Mario, Mane - Carrillo, Montero

Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Vieirinha, Naldo, Knoche, Rodriguez - Arnold, Luiz Gustavo - D. Caligiuri, De Bruyne, Arnold - Dost