Kevin De Bruyne, André Schürrle and Vieirinha have remained in Germany instead of travelling to Italy for the second leg of Wolfsburg’s Europa League quarter final against Napoli. The chance of qualification is slim for Dieter Hecking’s side ahead of Thursday’s game (21:05 CEST). The Wolves lost the first leg 4-1 with their three stars in top form, so the game is certainly going to be tricky.
"It will be interesting to see how we cope without him,” said VfL head coach Dieter Hecking when asked about de Bruyne’s absence. Hecking countered claims that he was resting the Belgian and Schürrle for the game by stating that “they wouldn’t have played even if it was the final.” De Bruyne has a foot injury; the World Champion has a shoulder problem.
De Bruyne’s absence could be crucial for Wolfsburg. The attacker has been in sparkling form this season and is one of the most dangerous players in Europe at the minute. Despite being without their star man, VfL are focussed on avenging last week’s defeat. “We want to show that the first leg was just a one off,” explained captain Diego Benaglio.
The opponents don’t feel progression is a foregone conclusion. Experienced Napoli boss Rafael Benitez, who lifted the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, remains cautious: “You can never write off German sides.”
In order to pull off a remarkable comeback, the Wolves will need to improve on last week’s performance. Gonzalo Higuain, Marek Hamsik and Co. punished the inexperienced Wolves. The raucous atmosphere in Italy won’t make things easier for Hecking’s side, who drew 1-1 with Schalke at the weekend.
"We need to show improvement,” explained Hecking, who is looking forward to the game despite the tricky starting position. If his side leave the competition, at least they will have picked up valuable experience ahead of next year’s Champions League, when they are likely to face teams of a higher calibre.