First Team

“We want to play our football”

The Green-Whites are aiming to return to winning ways at Hertha Berlin, with whom they’re level on points in the standings.

VfL Wolfsburg travel to seventh-placed Hertha Berlin on Saturday 2 February (kick-off 15:30 CET) in their third league encounter of 2019. Despite watching his team start the second half of the campaign with back-to-back defeats, Wolves head coach Bruno Labbadia cut a confident figure at Thursday’s pre-match press conference, where he spoke about…

…Hertha’s qualities: “We dominated the reverse fixture but then Hertha showed their class. What strikes me in particular is that they have a lot of players who’ve been at the club for three or four years, which is a rarity. I’m expecting a tactical battle because they’re a very well-drilled outfit.”

…losing back-to-back league games after ending 2018 in fifth place: “We know how we got there and that everything had to go smoothly for us to do so. We’ve always said that when everyone’s available and everyone works together, we’re very difficult to beat. That was clear against Schalke and Leverkusen, even though we lost. We also went through periods during the first half of the season when we weren’t getting results. We ended up improving more quickly than anyone at the club or anyone else expected us to. We have to accept that things change every now and then. It’s a long road ahead, but we want to play our football on a consistent basis.”

…the advantage of fielding a regular starting XI: “It’s very important to have that balance in the team. Doing something new all the time won’t work. People need to be aware that I have to disappoint over half the squad every Saturday. It’s no coincidence that I always stress how important players are who aren’t currently in the team.”

…Admir Mehmedi and Josuha Guilavogui, who are struggling with knocks: “They weren’t able to train with the team. It’s doubtful at the present time whether they’ll be available for the squad. Josh did some weight-bearing exercises yesterday. A lot depends on how he feels today after those tests. It’s a similar situation with Admir.”

…the Wolves’ personnel issues in attack: “It was difficult having both our central midfielders drop out during the first half of the season, which was a bitter blow. We compensated by adapting our system and by working well as a team in particular. We’re in the same situation now, even if it’s much more difficult to change your attacking style. We’re not complaining and we’re working with the players we have available.”