Wolfsburg, Gladbach optimistic ahead of Champions League | News | DW | 02.11.2015
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Wolfsburg, Gladbach optimistic ahead of Champions League

Three of the four German teams involved in the Champions League remain on course to make it through to the knock-out phase. The fourth may have to settle for moving on in the less prestigious Europa League.

Going into Tuesday night's game in Eindhoven, VfL Wolfsburg, who are top of Group B, are hoping to take a major step towards qualifying for the knock-out stage.

A win over PSV would give Wolfsburg nine points from their first four games, and this, coupled with a draw in the other Group B, game between Manchester United and CSKA Moscow, would as good as assure their progress into the next round.

The Germans were clearly the better team in their 2-0 victory at home over Eindhoven a fortnight ago. However, Wolfsburg's sporting director, Klaus Allofs, was quick to note that "Eindhoven will certainly perform completely differently at home."

Several of the team's stars, who were disappointed to have been rotated out of the first 11 at the weekend are hoping to be back in the starting lineup.

"Of course you don't like sitting on the bench, 22-year-old Julian Draxler said after Wolfsburg's 2-1 win at home to Leverkusen on Saturday.

As if to make his point, Draxler scored Wolfsburg's winning goal shortly after being subbed on. Among the others hoping to see action from the starting whistle on Tuesday are Dante and Bas Dost. Christian Träsch could return from injury, but not Max Kruse, who is continuing to suffer from a thigh injury.

Gladbach looking for first Champions League win

Borussia Mönchengladbach, meanwhile, are hoping, along with their (still) interim coach, Andre Schubert, to record their first Champions League win when they play host to Italian side Juventus, a couple of weeks after the two teams played to a scoreless draw in Turin.

"We have scored our first goal then collected our first point," Gladbach's sporting director, Max Eberl said optimistically. "The next logical step would be our first win."

Champions League Juventus Turin Borussia Mönchengladbach

Gladbach won't have to contend with German internatonal Sami Khedira, who was injured on the weekend

To pull off that first win, the German side will have to do a lot more in terms of attacking then they did in Italy, when they were solid on defense, but created nothing in terms of scoring chances. A win is a must for Gladbach, who are bottom of Group D, if they are to stand any chance securing second place in the group - and progression to the round of 16.

"Our goal is third place," Gladbach's Granit Xhaka said, referring to the path into the Europa League's round of 32. "If we manage second place, we'll gladly take it," he added.

Despite still seeking their first win in the Champions League, Borussia have been able to gather plenty of confidence in the league recently, having won all six of their Bundesliga contests since Schubert took over from Lucien Favre, who resigned after the team lost its first five.

Bayern-slayers Arsenal in Munich

On Wednesday, Bayern Munich are at home to Arsenal, the only team to have beaten them in a competitive match this season - a 2-0 defeat in London a fortnight ago. Still, the Bavarians remain top of Group F, and that's where they intend to say, according to their captain, Philipp Lahm.

"We're playing at home, it's a top game and we want a win to consolidate our place at the top of the table," Lahm said.

Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, travel to Rome still needing to collect points to finish at least second in Group E. Coach Roger Schmidt will be looking for a more stable defensive performance after a wild 4-4 draw against Rome in Leverkusen two weeks ago.

pfd/ (SID, dpa)

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