Bruno Labbadia während der Pressekonferenz vor dem Spiel gegen Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
First Team

“It’s a big challenge”

Wolfsburg go to Bayer Leverkusen for their first away game of the new Bundesliga season.

Bruno Labbadia während der Pressekonferenz vor dem Spiel gegen Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

The excitement is growing ahead of VfL Wolfsburg’s first Bundesliga away game of the 2018/19 season on Saturday (kick-off: 15:30 CEST). Head coach Bruno Labbadia’s troops take on Bayer Leverkusen in what will be a real yardstick for the team. After starting their league campaign with a 2-1 win at home to Schalke 04, the Green-Whites travel west feeling positive and with a healthy dose of confidence. It’s confidence that the Wolves have gained through a good pre-season and the last-minute win over the Royal Blues, and they’ll be hoping that momentum can help them at the BayArena against a side who Labbadia is yet to beat as VfL coach. In Thursday’s pre-match press conference, Labbadia spoke about…

…the injury to captain Josuha Guilavogui: “Josuha has been to see the specialists and together we’ve decided to opt for conservative treatment rather than surgery. It goes without saying that his absence is a big blow to us, both in terms of his character and his footballing abilities. We’ll have to deal with it as a team and come together. At the same time it’s also a chance for other players to show what they can do.”

…Koen Casteels’ new role: “We won the game last Saturday with Koen as captain, which is certainly a good sign. But he’s also carrying out his role as vice-captain and member of the leadership team very well, and it’s certainly taking him another step in his development. We have full faith in him as a goalkeeper because he has a great presence and is also good with the ball at his feet. The players and coaching staff have great confidence in him.”

…Saturday’s opponents: “Leverkusen are always seen as a Champions League club. They’re doing a great job there. They’re a club who always manage to find good, talented players but also keep them for a long time. It’s impressive to see how long that team have been playing together despite still being so young. They’re one of the strongest sides we can come up against. It’s a big challenge but we knew beforehand that we had two top teams to start with. We were able to beat Schalke and now we’re in for another tough battle.”

…the personnel situation: “At the moment it’s looking like everyone will be available for the weekend. There are one or two minor issues. Josip Brekalo has had a few muscular problems so we’ve altered his workload slightly, but now it’s looking good so we have virtually a full squad to pick from.”



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