Hannover 96 and VfL Wolfsburg have met twice before in the DFB Cup, with the Wolves winning both encounters without even conceding a goal. The most recent of these came just last season, when VfL beat their Lower Saxony rivals 1-0 in the second round. However, you have to go back 21 years to 29 August 1987 for the previous cup clash between the two sides, when the Green-Whites won 3-0 at the VfL-Stadion am Elsterweg. The third instalment on Tuesday 30 October (kick-off 18:30 CET) will be the first at Hannover.
In his pre-match press conference on Monday morning, VfL head coach Bruno Labbadia gave his thoughts on…
…the opposition: “The games I’ve seen of Hannover so far have been decent. We want to get through to the next round and I’m not expecting Hannover to change their style of play. We know what to expect and we’ll prepare the team accordingly. I don’t see Hannover as being that far away from us and we also don’t think we’re the better team just because we have a few more points in the Bundesliga table. I see both teams as being equal and there are no favourites; the performance on the day will decide it.”
…the appeal of the DFB Cup: “In principle our target should always be to get to the final. It’s a competition that has undergone a major revaluation in recent years. The DFB Cup has great significance in Germany and it’s just enjoyable. Anyone who’s ever been in a final or semi-final knows that. You also see that with the fans, who are really up for these games which are like finals.”
…the personnel situation: “The initial signs are good for Max Arnold after the shin injury he suffered in the game against Fortuna, but we need to see how it is today. It’s going very well for Felix Klaus at the moment. He has no problems at all with the things he’s been doing up to now, but obviously he needs to be built up since he had no pre-season. We need to make sure he has a solid base. Over the next few weeks we’ll look at when we can start integrating him into passing exercises. He’s still some way off full training because he lacks that base. Josuha Guilavogui has overcome his thigh problems and we’re in the process of working through other deficiencies. Hopefully he’ll be able to join in with large parts of team training next week.”