Wolfsburg - Leverkusen

Germany: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg
VOLKSWAGEN ARENA0-0
Leverkusen
Lineup

Wolfsburg defensive duo prepare for a "cold start"

By Peter Vice

John Anthony Brooks and Maxence Lacroix literally have zero time to get accustomed to one another before pacing a potent Leverkusen attack on Sunday.

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Photo: GEPA Pictures/Roger Petzsche

Red-eyed from his overnight flight back from Albania, VfL Wolfsburg trainer Oliver Glasner first had some good news to report to the waiting press corps. Maximilian Arnold, who had to leave the 4-0 Europa League qualification victory FK Kukesi, was not seriously injured.


"It's not that bad," Glasner said on Friday morning, "If the [level of] pain permits it, he can play on Sunday."

Naturally, Glasner could do nothing about the other injuries and suspensions that presently leave his defensive corps depleted. William Furtado and Kevin Mababu remain out long-term. Marin Pongracic's return has been delayed.  Captain Joshua Guilavogui will also have to sit out the team's opener against Leverkusen on Sunday on a red card.

And so it is that American center back John Anthony Brooks prepares for a "cold start" alongside 20-year-old French international Maxence Lacroix. The duo have not logged a single minute of pitch time together in either training camp, the DFB-Pokal or the delayed conclusion of last year's Europa League.

"It is what it is," Glasner remarked stoically, "It's not very well rehearsed." Glasner called up young defender Tim Siersleben from the youth ranks for assistance until his other actors can return to the pitch.

Glasner seemed to suggest that Brooks might eventually partner with Croatian center half Marin Pongracic; a partnership that worked rather well in the final nine fixtures last season. Pongracic has mononucleosis, and such glandular conditions are known to affect the medium-term fitness of footballers.

Regarding Pongracic, Glasner could only say, "It's headed in the right direction." He could give no specific timetable for the return of his January star transfer.


Wolfsburg
(4-3-3)
1Koen Casteels (C)
8Renato Steffen
4Maxence Lacroix
25John Brooks
15Jérôme Roussillon ↩69
14Admir Mehmedi ↩69
27Maximilian Arnold
24Xaver Schlager
7Josip Brekalo
9Wout Weghorst
40João Victor ↩78
Bench
12Pavao Pervan
21Bartosz Bialek
29Omar Marmoush
33Daniel Ginczek
6Paulo Otávio ↪69
10Yunus Mallı
11Felix Klaus ↪69
31Yannick Gerhardt ↪78
39Tim Siersleben
Leverkusen
(4-1-4-1)
1Lukáš Hradecky
8Lars Bender
5Sven Bender
12Edmond Tapsoba
22Daley Sinkgraven ↩76
20Charles Aránguiz (C)
38Karim Bellarabi ↩85
27Florian Wirtz ↩85
10Kerem Demirbay ↩63
19Moussa Diaby
13Lucas Alario ↩63
Bench
36Niklas Lomb
14Patrik Schick ↪63
17Joel Pohjanpalo ↪85
4Jonathan Tah
6Aleksandar Dragović
18Wendell ↪76
11Nadiem Amiri ↪63
15Julian Baumgartlinger ↪85
25Exequiel Palacios

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