VfL Wolfsburg have discovered their opponents for the group stage of the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League. In Friday’s draw, which was conducted by former players Ashley Cole and Paulo Ferreira, Oliver Glasner’s side were placed in Group I along with Belgian side KAA Gent, French club AS Saint-Etienne and FC Olexandriya of Ukraine - an exciting group which offers VfL fans the opportunity to watch the Green-and-Whites in eastern Europe.
Wolves paired with former Champions League opponents
The Wolves have faced Gent before in European competition, having beaten the Belgian club in both legs of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League last 16. Saint-Etienne, Josuha Guilavogui’s boyhood club, are currently 14th in Ligue 1, while Leonid Burjak’s Olexandriya are something of an unknown quantity.
First game on 19 September
VfL were last involved in European competition in April 2016, when they were knocked out of the 2015/16 Champions League by eventual winners Real Madrid. The Wolves’ first group game will take place on Thursday 19 September - almost three-and-a-half years since their last European tie.
Reaction to Europa League draw
Oliver Glasner: “It’s exciting to have teams from Germany, France, Belgium and Ukraine in the same group. I’m expecting our opponents from Belgium and France to be technically gifted, although we mustn’t underestimate the Ukrainians either. We’ll prepare thoroughly for all three opponents and we’re looking forward to facing them. Our aim is to reach the next round - we’ll need to produce very good performances to do so.”
Josuha Guilavogui: “To play against Saint-Etienne is absolutely incredible. It’s a dream come true for me - I was really hoping to play against them. I went through a lot at Saint-Etienne, came through the academy there, became a professional and full international and won my first title. I never played for them in the Europa League, though. Now I’m going back there as captain of VfL. It’s unbelievable and I can’t really put my emotions into words. You play football for moments like these. My whole family will be in the stadium, even my grandmother. I’ve already called the Saint-Etienne manager and told him I need an entire stand for my friends and family! I’m so thankful that we’re playing there.”
Maximilian Arnold: “We’ve been drawn against interesting clubs from different countries. We know Gent from the Champions League and have fond memories of those games. Saint-Etienne are well known and a strong French club, and we need to find out a bit more about Oleksandriya. I’m glad that we’re back in Europe. We definitely have a chance of reaching the next round.”
Wout Weghorst: “We want to reach the knockout stages and we’ve been drawn against strong teams from the French, Belgian and Ukrainian leagues. I once played against Oleksandriya in a pre-season friendly for AZ Alkmaar. Overall it’s a positive draw for us.”
VfL’s group stage schedule
Thu., 19.09.19, 21.00 CEST: VfL Wolfsburg - PFK Olexandrija
Thu., 03.10.19, 18.55 CEST: AS Saint-Etienne - VfL Wolfsburg
Thu., 24.10.19, 18.55 CEST: KAA Gent - VfL Wolfsburg
Thu., 07.11.19, 21.00 CET: VfL Wolfsburg - KAA Gent
Thu., 28.11.19, 18.55 CET: PFK Olexandrija - VfL Wolfsburg
Thu, 12.12.19, 21.00 CET: VfL Wolfsburg - AS Saint-Etienne
16 December: Round of 32 draw