VfL Wolfsburg are looking to pave the way for a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals when they travel to Belgium to face KAA Gent in their Round of 16 first leg tie on Wednesday (kick-off 20:45CET/19:45GMT).
The Wolves are in the knockout stages of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time ever after finishing top of Group B. That achievement meant Dieter Hecking’s charges were seeded for the draw of the knockout rounds, but the coach was quick to dismiss his side as favourites at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
“Gent had a great team last season,” said the 51-year-old. “Anyone who thinks they’ll be pushovers has been misinformed.” Furthermore, Wolfsburg are without first-choice centre-back Naldo, who is suspended for this match, as well as Daniel Caligiuri, Diego Benaglio, Bas Dost and Josuha Guilavogui through injury.
- Gent are also in the Champions League knockout stages for the first time ever.
- The hosts have only faced German opposition twice before (Eintracht Frankfurt in 1991/92 and SV Werder Bremen in 2001), and progressed each time despite failing to win at home.
- The Wolves lost two of their three away games during the group stage.
- Belgian goalkeeper Koen Casteels is set to start in his homeland; if he does it will be his Champions League debut.
- Wolfsburg’s victory over FC Ingolstadt 04 at the weekend was their first league win since November.
Matchday 21 highlights: Wolfsburg 2-0 Ingolstadt
Gent: Sels - Asare, Mitrovic, Nielsen - Kums, Neto - Dejaegere, Milicevic, Foket - Simon, Depoitre.
Wolfsburg: Casteels - Träsch, Knoche, Dante, Rodriguez - Arnold, Gustavo - Vieirinha, Draxler, Schürrle - Kruse.