Wolfsburg are brimming with belief while Gent's coach gives his team a "zero per cent chance" of progressing. It could end up being another milestone for Wolfsburg, writes DW's Matt Pearson.
Conceding two late goals after racing out to a 3-0 lead in Gent last month may have made Wolfsburg’s Champions League challenge a little tougher, but consecutive Bundesliga wins means confidence is sky high at Volkswagen Arena ahead of Tuesday’s second leg.
Wins at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach and away at Hannover have put the Wolves back in the hunt for a Champions League spot next year. Wolfsburg are four points behind Schalke in fourth and Saturday's win at home to the Foals saw them make up ground on their opponents in sixth.
But Julian Draxler, who scored the opener on Saturday and a brace in the first leg in Belgium, is fully focused on this year’s tournament. "We can make history and reach the quarter-finals for the first time," he told the Bundesliga's official website. "We'll approach the game as we would any other: we want to win it."
Big ties are a great healer
Draxler was reportedly a slight doubt for Tuesday’s last 16 clash after picking up a knee ligament injury at the weekend but he has no intention of missing out. "It should be ok by Tuesday," said the 22-year-old summer signing from Schalke. "I mean, on Tuesday we are playing in the Champions League. Your legs run by themselves on occasions like that."
Wolfsburg head Dieter Hecking believes Max Kruse, who also scored against Mönchengladbach and Gent, will use the same motivation to overcome a thigh injury. "Games like the one on Tuesday should heal every wound," Hecking said, adding that he expects "90 minutes of hard work" and a "full throttle" performance from his side. The club’s sporting director Klaus Allofs, said the increased feeling of confidence at the Volkswagen Arena is fully justified.
"When you win against such a top team like Gladbach then you are allowed to be confident," Allofs said. "We are back in the game. We know that the tie is not finished yet. But if we play like we did against Gladbach then we will advance into the next round."
Contrasting form and first leg warning
The home side’s upturn in fortunes is not matched by their Belgian opponents. Gent have only won two of their last seven games in all competitions, dropping to second behind Club Brugge in their domestic league in the process.
Neither side has reached the quarter final stage of the Champions League before and, given their form, Gent coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck doesn’t think that’ll change for his side this year, giving his team a "zero per cent chance" of reaching the last eight. He did, however, challenge his players to prove him wrong. Goalkeeper Matz Sels thinks they can.
"Thanks to the two goals we scored (in the first leg) we have made it a contest," he said. "We certainly shouldn't throw it open at the start because it would be deadly for us to concede a goal."
"Even if we only go 1-0 up in the 80th minute it would 10 minutes of jitters for Wolfsburg and then you never know if you have another good crack with the ball."
Elsewhere on Tuesday night, Real Madrid take on Roma at the Bernabeu. The Spanish side lead 2-0 from the first leg.