BERLIN, Germany, Dec 16 – VfL Wolfsburg will be looking to end a four-game winless streak in the Bundesliga as they entertain fifth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Since appointing Valerien Ismael as full-time coach in early November, the Wolves have gone decidedly off the boil, conceding home defeats to FC Schalke 04 and Hertha Berlin, drawing with lowly FC Ingolstadt 04, and going down 5-0 to champions FC Bayern München at the Allianz Arena.
The Frenchman will be determined to steady the ship against Frankfurt – who have only claimed a single victory in 14 visits to Wolfsburg – and put some distance between his side and the drop zone.
Frankfurt are enjoying a much happier run of form, with foaur wins and four draws in their last eight Bundesliga matches.
Having been held by FC Augsburg and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in their most recent outings, Niko Kovac’s side will see this trip to the Volkswagen Arena as the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways, against a Wolfsburg side running low on confidence.
Tonight, Hoffenheim will be ferociously defending their unbeaten record when they face Borussia Dortmund.
One of just two teams in Europe’s top leagues still to be beaten this season – the other being no less than UEFA Champions League holders Real Madrid CF – Julian Nagelsmann’s side have a one-point advantage over their guests to keep intact or even build upon, with a place in the top three up for grabs with a victory.
Dortmund’s recent inconsistencies have seen them beat FC Bayern München but then drop points at Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Köln.
They will be hoping their next trip away from the Signal Iduna Park can see a repeat of their journey to Hamburger SV, when they came out 5-2 winners, thanks to four goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The league’s leading scorer could be Thomas Tuchel’s key man again in Sinsheim as Dortmund also eye a place in the top three.
The matches will be live on StarTimes.
Also on Saturday, there will be special focus on RB Leipzig as the footballing world wonders if the wounds inflicted on Ralph Hasenhüttl’s team following a first Bundesliga reverse will prove merely superficial ahead of two very significant tests prior to the winter break.
Understandably downcast after registering their first Bundesliga reverse in the club’s history, RB Leipzig’s players and coaching staff have since been busy mending morale ahead of a monumental week for the team from Germany’s former East.
A sensational, record-breaking start to their debut campaign in the top-flight brought Ralph Hasenhüttl’s swashbuckling, hard-pressing outfit acclaim from across the continent.
Yet the fiercely competitive Bundesliga can be brutal and after an unlikely loss against relegation-threatened FC Ingolstadt 04 last weekend, Leipzig’s eight-game winning run ended and their top-flight lead was snatched by a ravenous FC Bayern München.
“It was clear that we’d have a game like this one day, but it won’t knock us back, we can handle it,” Hasenhüttl said of the defeat against the side he previously coached.
“We’ll see a response on the pitch next time,” the tactician added. Midfielder Diego Demme agreed, calling for a, “Defiant reaction,” against Hertha Berlin – currently the Bundesliga’s third-placed team.