First Team

“Positive pressure”

Bruno Labbadia’s Wolves face Borussia Dortmund away from home this weekend.

VfL Wolfsburg travel to second-placed Dortmund on Saturday and, if the statistics are to be believed, it could be a long afternoon for Labbadia’s side at Signal Iduna Park. The Green-Whites have won only three games away to BVB in the Bundesliga, drawing five and losing 13. However, VfL have collected plenty of points from tricky matches so far this season, particularly away from home (23 of a possible 42). At Thursday’s press conference ahead of the game, Labbadia spoke to the assembled media about…

…Saturday’s tough trip to BVB: “We can look forward to the game as we’re up against a top opponent. The corresponding fixture earlier this season ended in a relatively narrow scoreline and we want to make sure the next game is just as tight. We’re very strong away from home – which BVB are aware of – and we go into the game with a lot of self-belief. Borussia Dortmund are challenging for the title and are capable of winning it. You can tell from their style of play. It’s always a nice challenge to try and get a result in front of such a big crowd in such an impressive stadium. We want to show once more that we’re very strong away from home.”

…Felix Uduokhai as a possible replacement for John Brooks: “We need to see how John is doing after returning from international duty. He didn’t play in the last game but will be a bit jet-lagged. We’ll work with him today and tomorrow to make sure he recovers as well as possible. It was unfortunate for Felix Uduokhai that John did very well in pre-season and earned his place in the side. Particularly in defence, you don’t tend to make many changes – that’s just the way things are. We made a lot of changes last season when we didn’t have a first-choice centre-back pairing. We wanted to establish one this season to give ourselves stability.”

…the current standings from VfL’s perspective: “If you look at where we were last season with eight games left to play, one could say we’re under positive pressure. I sense that my players are excited by the current situation. We know there are excellent teams around us in the table, but we want to make sure we’re in contention for a European place until the end of the season. If we’re given an opportunity we want to make the most of it. Our opponents have to get past us, too.”