The cup is a law unto itself – a fact which VfL Wolfsburg learned early on in the club’s history. A look back to the year 1970: As rank outsider, the Wolves then active in the Regionalliga, pulled off a 2-2 draw against the stars from FC Schalke 04 on Elsterweg. With the then resulting replay also failing to produce a winner, there followed a historical moment. For the first time in the history of the competition, a decision would be made through the newly installed penalty shoot-out. VfL goalkeeper Dieter Grünsch saved two spot-kicks, under rather curious circumstances, but in the end, VfL bowed out to a 2-4 defeat.
The clubs then clashed again in the competition in the ‘Round of 16’ in 2007/2008. Again the team to progress would be decided from the penalty-spot, although on that occasion, the Green-Whites held their nerve and ran out 6-4 winners. In the fourth cup meeting of the two clubs, a lengthy affair is possible, but one thing is clear: There will be goals, when the sides do battle in Gelsenkirchen for a semi-final place on Wednesday, February 7th (kick-off 20:45 CET). As VfL head-coach Martin Schmidt stated at the pre-match press conference: "We want to win this game – nothing else is of any significance."
Wolves yet to concede
The Green-Whites have made it to the quarter-finals of the competition on eight previous occasions – and progressed on to the semi-finals seven times (most recently with a 1-0 home win over SC Freiburg on April 7th, 2015. The club’s greatest cup coup was to follow in 2015 with the title win – 20 years on from the club’s first final participation against Borussia Mönchengladbach. The cup, with its all-or-nothing games, would appear to suit VfL – who have been experiencing a difficult Bundesliga season, but are looking far better in the cup. The league’s 13th placed side are yet to conceded in this season’s DFB-Cup competition. In the first two rounds, Schmidt’s men were 1-0 winners over Norderstedt and Hannover respectively. In the ‘Round of 16’, the Green-Whites ran out 2-0 winners over 1. FC Nürnberg after extra-time – a confidence inspiring result.
'Round of 16': Wednesday, 30.01.2008
VfL Wolfsburg – Schalke 04 5:3 (pens.)
1st Round: Wednesday, 23.12.1970
FC Schalke 04 – VfL Wolfsburg 3-1 (pens.)
1st Round: Sunday, 13.12.1970
VfL Wolfsburg – FC Schalke 04 2-2 a.e.t.