Stuttgart vs Wolfsburg Preview

STUTTGART VS WOLFSBURG PREVIEW - Wolfsburg aim to seal Champions league spot for next season

STUTTGART VS

Wolfsburg travel to Stuttgart on Wednesday in the Bundesliga looking to get back to winning ways and taking a big step towards Champions League qualification. The Wolves currently lie in third place in the table and are looking to qualify for Europe’s premier competition (for now) for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

Stuttgart come into the match on the back of consecutive defeats to Borussia Dortmund and Union Berlin. Pellegrino Matarazzo’s men suffered a 2-1 defeat to Union on Saturday which left them 10th in the table. The club still has a shot at qualifying for the Europe Conference League.

Wolfsburg put on a great show but were unable to get anything on Saturday, losing out 3-2 to Bayern Munich, the league leaders. The defeat was their second in a row after losing by the odd goal in seven to Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend.

 

 

TEAM NEWS

Matarazzo will welcome back defender Marc Oliver Kempf from suspension but he has a long list of absences to deal with. Silas Wamangituka and Orel Mangala are out long-term while Borna Sosa and Nicolas Gonzalez are also expected to miss out.

Stuttgart Probable Lineup: Kobel; Mavropanos, Anton, Kempf; Stenzel, Castro, Karazor, Thommy; Coulibaly, Klimowicz; Kalajdzic

 

Marc Oliver Kempf returns for Stuttgart against Wolfsburg

Marc Oliver Kempf returns for Stuttgart against Wolfsburg (Courtesy: /Twitter)

 

Wolfsburg boss Oliver Glasner will likely be without Joshua Guilavogui and Renato Steffen, who miss out through injury. Midfielder Maximilian Arnold will be available again after missing the match against Bayern through suspension.

Wolfsburg Probable Lineup: Casteels; Mbabu, Lacroix, Brooks, Roussillon; Arnold, Gerhardt; Baku, Philipp, Brekalo, Weghorst

 

GAME CHANGERS

Stuttgart will continue to rely on their top scorer Sasa Kalajdzic. The young Austrian’s breakthrough season has seen him be linked with a move to Dortmund as replacement for Erling Haaland in recent weeks. His blend of physicality and technicality is integral to how Stuttgart play and he will be the danger man once again.

 

 

In the absence of Sosa and Wamangituka, the creative burden for Stuttgart falls on Daniel Didavi. The Bundesliga veteran recently recovered from injury and may be limited to a role off the bench but his pace and quality are a threat to any defence.

Wout Veghorst is one of only four players to have scored more goals than Kalajdzic in the Bundesliga and he is fast becoming one of the most potent strikers in Europe. His predatory skills in the penalty box make him a menace and the Dutchman’s 19 strikes in the league are the key reason for Wolfsburg’s lofty position.

 

 

Maximilian Arnold’s return is a welcome one given how good the 26-year-old has been this season. He has eight direct goal involvements from a deep midfield position and Wolfsburg will look to him to be the one to dictate proceedings.

 

PREDICTIONS

Both teams are hurting from consecutive defeats and will be looking to bounce back. Wolfsburg now only have four points over Dortmund in fifth and need the points to remain in-charge of Champions League qualification. FootTheBall predicts that the Wolves will scrape by with a win in a closely-fought encounter, Wolfsburg 2-1 Stuttgart.

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