Wolfsburg hope Gomez can help them kick on | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 24.08.2016
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Wolfsburg hope Gomez can help them kick on

After a disappointing last season there have been plenty of changes in Wolfsburg over the summer. Mario Gomez is back in the Bundesliga and Julian Draxler is still in Lower Saxony - whether he likes it or not.

Transfers: The biggest positive move for the Wolves this close season was signing Mario Gomez for a reported seven million euros ($7.7 million) from Fiorentina. The Germany striker, who had an injury-plagued 2014 rediscovered his scoring touch while on loan at Besiktas last season. The addition of Jakub Blaszczykowski from Dortmund should also help boost the attack.

A number of young and exciting names have also been brought in, including Jeffrey Bruma, Yannick Gerhardt and Daniel Didavi, while Joshua Guilavogui has put pen to paper on a permanent deal.

A year after Wolfsburg lost Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City, a number of key first-team players left the club again this summer. Andre Schürrle, Max Kruse and Naldo all left, with the first two joining Bundesliga rivals Dortmund and Bremen.

However, the most talked-about transfer of the summer never actually happened. Julian Draxler, who only joined the club a year ago, used an interview with the mass-circulation newspaper "Bild" to demand that he be allowed to leave Wolfsburg. However, sporting director Klaus Allofs stood his ground, refusing to let the 22-year old Germany player leave - at least not yet.

Head coach: Dieter Hecking

Entering his fourth full season with the club, Dieter Hecking will be looking for a response from his revamped squad after the worst of his three previous campaigns.

Fußball: Bundesliga - Trainingsauftakt VfL Wolfsburg

New signings Daniel Didavi, Jeffrey Bruma and Yannick Gerhardt are among the reasons for renewed hop in Wolfsburg

"Of course last season was a great disappointment for everyone at the club," Hecking told German sports magazine "Kicker," before declaring that "we aim to qualify for European competition this season."

One of the main criticisms of Wolfsburg and Hecking last season was the team's inability to capitalize on their potential for fast, counter-attacking football. Now, with Andre Schürrle and Max Kruse gone, a change in style could be in the cards, although it is seems likely that Hecking will favor a 4-2-3-1 formation once again.

Key man: Mario Gomez

Wolfsburg had a major problem scoring goals last season, finding the target just 47 times - the club's lowest total since 2012-13. Allofs and Hecking hope this will change with a rejuvenated Mario Gomez in the lineup. His 26 goals at Besiktas last season earned him a call-up to the national team for Euro 2016. He found the next twice for Germany in France, before being sidelined with a thigh injury, which will prevent him from making his debut with the Wolves until mid-September.

Wolfsburg Fußballer Mario Gomez (M)

Dieter Hecking and Klaus Allofs hope Mario Gomez can maintain the scoring touch that he rediscovered in Turkey

What to expect: Disappointment again

The purchases of Gomez, Blaszczykowski , Gerhardt, Didavi should give the faithful at the Volkswagen-Arena renewed hope for the coming season. Maybe they will even be able to get themselves back in contention for Europe again.

There are two major question marks though. 1: How quickly can Dieter Hecking get a team with so many key personnel changes to gel; and 2: Will Draxler play a positive or negative role this season? On the one hand, as a fan you may respect Allofs' decision to stand his ground and demand that Draxler fulfill his contract. On the other hand, there is the risk that a player who has made it clear that he does not want to be there could underperform on the field - and poison the atmosphere in the dressing room. Wolfsburg fans can only hope that he will take management's decision in a professional manner and try to help their team qualify for Europe, before almost inevitably eventually having his wish to move on granted.

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