In-form Wolves ready to pounce on Gent

BERLIN • Wolfsburg are confident that their recent good form can carry them past Gent today and into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time.

The Wolves, who won the first leg 3-2 in Belgium after leading 3-0 and conceding two late goals, are boosted by their 2-1 victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach in the German Bundesliga on Saturday.

It was their second league win in five days and moved them back into seventh place in the table.

"When you win against such a top team like Gladbach then you are allowed to be confident," said Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs. "We are back in the game."

Last season's Bundesliga runners-up and German Cup winners seem to have recovered from their slump earlier in the campaign in time for the biggest European game in the club's history.

"We know that the tie is not finished yet," Allofs said. "But, if we play like we did against Gladbach, then we will advance."

Julian Draxler, who scored against both Gent and Gladbach, limped off on Saturday midway through the second half, but is expected to be fit for today's game.

Max Kruse, who also scored in both of those games, picked up a knock but will be ready to face Gent, said coach Dieter Hecking.

"Games like the one on Tuesday should heal every wound," Hecking said.

Gent slipped two points behind Belgian league leaders Club Bruges after a 1-1 draw with second-bottom team OH Leuven on Friday.

They failed to find a winner despite their opponents having their goalkeeper sent off.

Coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck is still sweating over the fitness of striker Laurent Depoitre, who missed Friday's match and Saturday's training with a bad back and strained abdomen.

Serbian centre-back Stefan Mitrovic, whose foot injury has kept him out for two weeks, is also a doubt.

Yet, even if they are depleted, the Belgian side believe they have a chance at the Volkswagen Arena in Germany.

"When we were 0-3 down (against Wolfsburg), everyone thought this away tie would be just a city outing for us," goalkeeper Matz Sels said, when asked if he was optimistic about the return leg.

"But thanks to the two goals we scored, we have made it a contest.

"We certainly shouldn't throw it open at the start because it would be deadly for us to concede a goal.

"Even if we only go 1-0 up in the 80th minute it would be 10 minutes of jitters for Wolfsburg and then you never know if you have another good crack with the ball."

REUTERS

WOLFSBURG V GENT

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2016, with the headline 'In-form Wolves ready to pounce on Gent'. Print Edition | Subscribe