VfL Wolfsburg: The Wolves have gone unbeaten through pre-season and after a tough DFB-Pokal game against Hallescher FC, they are coming into the 2019-20 campaign with confidence. With four wins and three draws, including an 8:1 win over OGC Nice, Oliver Glasner’s start to life as head coach couldn’t have started in a much better way.
1. FC Köln: As for FC and Achim Beierlorzer, it was a similarly tough route into the Pokal second round. A penalty shoot-out win over SV Wehen Wiesbaden tested the players physically and mentally, but 1. FC Köln are in the hat for the next round. After a solid pre-season under Beierlorzer, the wait is finally over for league football to begin and to put all the preparation into practice.
Oliver Glasner: "Köln will put us under pressure from the get-go and won’t need long to hit their stride. They’re physically very strong and won’t give us much time on the ball. They’re a handful in the penalty area with big, strong strikers. I’m expecting a very intense encounter in terms of the physical battle."
Achim Beierlorzer: "We travel to Wolfsburg with respect. I know the head coach, Oliver Glasner. He has a clear system and will line-up with a 3-4-3 with his attackers pressing the ball. We'll do everything to find our way in the game. We want to invest everything in every game. We are competitive and can hurt Wolfsburg."
VfL Wolfsburg: Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wolfsburg’s summer additions were influenced by Oliver Glasner’s time in Austria with LASK. They have recruited Joao Victor directly from LASK, and Paulo Otavio from FC Ingolstadt 04 – another player who was previously under Glasner’s watchful eye. Xaver Schlager (Salzburg) has been touted as one of Europe’s most promising central midfielders, while Kevin Mbabu will give fresh legs down the right hand side following his move from BSC Young Boys.
1. FC Köln: Birger Verstraete and Louis Schaub both went through MRI scans on Monday following the game in Weisbaden. Thankfully, both showed up without any problems.Ellyes Skhiri could be part of the squad for the first time since his arrival, while Christian Clemens, Ismail Jakobs and Noah Katterbach are still in individual training. Marcel Risse and Darko Churlinov are back in training, but Jhon Cordoba is suspended following his red card against Jahn Regensburg last season.
Wout Weghorst will be the man who FC will have to keep an eye on up front. The towering striker isn’t hard to miss at almost two metres tall, and has been a real hit since his move to Wolfsburg last season. 17 goals and seven assists helped propel the club back into Europe, and the Dutchman found the net again in the DFB-Pokal tie against Hallescher FC. With the Wolves particularly dangerous from wide positions, stopping Weghorst will be key to getting a result on Saturday.
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