VfL Wolfsburg head to Albania with diminished squad
By Peter Vice
For one Bundesliga club, its not quite time to focus solely on the season just yet. Oliver Glasner and his Wolves are eastward bound, hoping to ensure that Europe will have seven German representatives in its club competitions this year.
It’s all or nothing for German side VfL Wolfsburg as they head to Albania to face FK Kukesi in the second round of qualifying for the 2020/21 Europa League. Oliver Glanser’s men must win a single-legged fixture in order to keep their hopes for Europe alive on Thursday night. Less than 72 hours later they’ll be back in Germany for their Bundesliga debut against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
The team is missing most of its defensive corps. William Furtado, Marin Pongracic, Kevin Mbabu, and Omar Marmoush have not boarded the plane that will take the team to Kukesi. Centre-back John Anthony Brooks will also stay at home, ineligible for the competition after seeing red against Shakhtar Donestsk last month in the delayed conclusion of last year’s tournament.
Wolves trainer Oliver Glasner has brought both Jerome Roussillon and keeper Koen Casteels along for the ride, even though both are recovering from injuries. Glasner needs at least some bodies if his squad is to stand a chance in the crucial match.
“A lot has looked good recently,” Glasner noted before boarding the plane, “We’ll need to do better at utilizing our opportunities.”