The Wolves begin their Europa League campaign at home to FC Oleksandriya on Thursday.
VfL Wolfsburg embark on a new UEFA Europa League chapter on Thursday 19 September when they lock horns with Ukrainian side FC Oleksandriya (kick-off 21:00 CEST). The game at the Volkswagen Arena is the Wolves’ first in Europe since the 3-0 defeat at Real Madrid in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg.
Oleksandriya may be something of an unknown quantity in Germany, but VfL head coach Oliver Glasner and forward Admir Mehmedi - who played for Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev between January 2012 and July 2013 - are taking Thursday’s opponents very seriously. At Wednesday’s pre-match press conference, Glasner spoke about…
…their opponents’ style of play: “We’ve watched several of Oleksandriya’s games and seen that they’re a very organised side. They’re aggressive and alternate between high pressing and compact defending on the edge of their own penalty area. After winning the ball they try to break forward quickly using players with great pace.”
…personnel: “All players who were fit in Düsseldorf are still available. That’s the current situation in the squad. None of our injured players will return before the next international break. We have 19 outfield players available who are all in good shape.”
VfL forward Mehmedi was asked, among other things, about his spell in Ukraine with Dynamo Kiev. The 28-year-old also shared his thoughts on…
…VfL’s Europa League participation: “We worked very hard all year to play in Europe again. Every one of us is incredibly excited about these European games. It’s a bonus, a treat, to play in the Europa League. We want to enjoy it. Everyone is highly motivated and wants to play as well as they possibly can tomorrow - as we do in every competitive game.”
…his spell in Ukraine: “Oleksandriya were in the second division when I was in Ukraine, so I’ve never played against them. You obviously can’t compare the Ukrainian league with the Bundesliga. We were always favourites when I was with Kiev, apart from against Shakhtar Donetsk and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. The other teams obviously played on the counterattack and we often found it very difficult against them. You have to play against a lot of tough, compact sides in Ukraine. Beating these teams isn’t a walk in the park.”