This coming Saturday, April 22nd (kick-off 15:30 CET), VfL Wolfsburg take on Hertha BSC. The Berlin side are a force to be reckoned with on their home turf, securing each of their last 16 points at the 'Olympiastadion'. The club’s home strength has not gone unnoticed by VfL head-coach Andries Jonker either. "Their home tally is similar to that of Leipzig. That always makes for a very interesting challenge. It’s clear that we are going to have to come up with something special," explained the Wolves coach at the pre-match press conference.
Defying the home strength
With the backing of some 2,000 travelling fans, the Wolves will be looking to defy Hertha’s home strength and hopefully steal away all three points from the capital. "The support from our fans in our recent away games was sensational. We are very proud of the fact that there will be so many Green-Whites in Berlin. That certainly gives us a boost," explained VfL sportig director Olaf Rebbe. And head-coach Andries Jonker was equally confident. "We have analysed Berlin’s style of play – looking at where their strengths and weaknesses lie. We want to put in a good performance," stated the determined Dutchman. But what is it that makes Hertha such a challenge in their own backyard? Jonker knows the answer: "They play calmly, maintain possession and wait for opportunities to present themselves before playing the ball forward. That’s a quality that not many teams in the league possess."
Tail-wind from three away points
Andries Jonker is expecting a performance from his team similar to the one they displayed against Darmstadt. "In the first-half we had some problems shifting the ball around within our own ranks. That was better in the second-half, but even more is possible." Another positive for the coach was that in Yunus Malli, a further player got his name on the score-sheet, other than Mario Gomez, for the first time since Jonker took charge. That is indeed a constellation which would please the coach this weekend – but it’s by no means a must: "I watch my players scoring goals every single day, and I know that they are of capable of doing so, but if we were to win 1-0 on Saturday with a goal from Mario, I’d be quite happy too."
Jonker naturally didn’t unveil any details as to which eleven players will initially take to the pitch on Saturday afternoon, but the VfL coach did have some positive news to announce. "Things are progressing well with Diego Benaglio, Ashkan Dejagah, Ismail Azzaoui and Victor Osimhen. They are working hard. I currently have 25 players on the training grounds – when I started we had just 15." On Wednesday, Paul-Georges Ntep, Ricardo Rodriguez and Jannes Horn all returned to full team training.
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