11.03.2020
First Team

“Focus on the football”

VfL Wolfsburg host FC Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday in their UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg (kick-off 21:00 CET), which will be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The situation is not an easy one for fans or the team, although at Wednesday’s press conference, head coach Oliver Glasner and Yannick Gerhardt insisted the lack of an atmosphere during the game should not distract the side from their objective of laying the foundations to reach the quarter-finals.

Glasner on…

…discussing the topic of playing behind closed doors in the changing room: “We’ve spoken about it briefly but we’ll try to block it out as much as possible. Our aim is to reach the next round. We can’t control the circumstances, so we’ve been focusing on the football. The situation is the way it is and obviously we’d all like it to be different, but we also know that it’s currently the best solution.”

… personnel: “It’s similar to how it was in the game against Leipzig. Josuha Guilavogui still isn’t fit and we’re not sure yet whether Kevin Mbabu will be available. Koen Casteels is fit and Jerome Roussillon will be in the squad again.”

…the opposition: “I’m expecting to play against a very good team with incredible quality up front. They’ve got players who’ve been playing at the highest level internationally for several years, and who are very good in one-on-one situations. We’ll have to be on our toes in defence. It’ll be a very tough task, but the good thing is that we’ve shown recently, both in the Bundesliga and in the Europa League, that we’re in very good shape ourselves too.”

Gerhardt on…

…playing behind closed doors: “It’s a shame that our fans can’t be there in a game like this. But we just have to accept the situation and block it out during the match.”

… the opposition: “Shakhtar are well known from playing in the Champions League. They’ve got a lot of individual quality in attack and very robust players in defence. That combination makes them very dangerous. But it’s also fun to test yourself against teams like that. In our last game against Leipzig we showed that we can compete against Champions League sides, so that can give us confidence for this game.”

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