Wolfsburg almost made a mess out of the first leg clash as they allowed the hosts to score two late goals, but the 3-2 win in Belgium ensures they remain the favourites to qualify. KAA Gent made the price for the slow start, and it remains to be seen whether they can make this tie interesting by scoring an early goal at Volkswagen Arena.
After impressing in both Bundesliga and Europe last season, the Wolves experienced all sorts of problems this term. The departure of key midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and numerous injuries to the playing squad took the wind out of their sails, but it would appear the team are slowly returning to the right track. Wolfsburg finally recorded back to back league wins, for the first time since October, and the victory over top 4 rivals Borussia M’gladbach saw them close the gap behind Champions League positions to mere four points. Meanwhile, Dieter Hecking’s charges did well to top the group that contained the likes of PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United and CSKA Moscow before recording a 3-2 away win over KAA Gent in the first knockout stage. The Wolves can now be trusted to finish the job in the return match, especially taking into account they are now in much better form than three weeks ago. It is important to note that the Wolves have won all three group games at their Volkswagen Arena.
Important defender Naldo continues to miss out through a shoulder problem, while keeper Diego Benaglio is not yet ready to return from a rib injury.
Bas Dosta, Sebastian Jung and Paul Seguin are sidelined as well, but Andre Schurrle should keep his place alongside Max Kruse in attack.
Without a doubt, KAA Gent have been the biggest surprise package of the current Champions League campaign, having defied odds to progress from group stage, leaving the likes of Valencia and Lyon to trail in their wake. Despite focusing on their European exploits, the Belgian side did fairly well on domestic stage as well, climbing to second in the league standings, where they sit mere two points behind leaders Club Brugge. However, Gent haven’t been too impressive of late and the lack of confidence was probably the main reason why they allowed Wolfsburg to score three goals before they finally started playing football, but they have got to be congratulated for keeping their hopes alive with two late goals. Nevertheless, considering that the Wolves have since rediscovered their form, the Belgian side will find it hard to overturn a one-goal deficit on German soil, although they clearly have nothing to lose in this match.
Midfielder Thomas Matton misses out through a foot injury, whereas Danijel Milicevic, Lasse Nielsen and Brecht Dejaegere are all rated doubtful.
Key Factors to Consider
- Wolfsburg won the first ever meeting between the two sides
- The Wolves won all three group games at home this term
- Wolfsburg have four victories in last six matches on all fronts
- Gent lost last three away fixtures on domestic stage
- Gent have four defeats in last seven matches in all competitions
The first match proved Wolfsburg are superior in terms of quality and with the Wolves in very good form at the moment, another victory appears on the cards. Taking also into account that Gent will not be afraid to attack from the off, we could also see goals galore at Volkswagen Arena.
Verdict: Home win + both teams to score
Best Odds: 2/1