Europa League Preview: Wolfsburg - Rubin

Posted Friday, March 19, 2010 by Goal.com

The Russian champions will have a touch time against the German champions...

Kick-Off: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 21:05 CET
  VFL Wolfsburg Arena, Wolfsburg, Germany

Full Of Confidence

It is not easy to go to Russia and come back with something, but German champions VfL Wolfsburg did just that last week when they held Russian champions Rubin Kazan to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie. It was an entertaining game that saw 19 shots taken and in which either side could have won.

But it was Wolfsburg who went back home the happier of the two sides and die Wolfe will now be looking to finish off the job in Germany. They were relegated from the Champions League to the Europa League at the end of the group stages and they will try to use that experience against Rubin to full effect.

Having survived their longest ever journey for a competitive football game, and the frost-layered pitch, Wolfsburg will be eager to play under some less trying conditions.

Seeking An Away Win

Rubin Kazan's rise to prominence in the last two or so years has been exhilarating and the Russian champions were sensational in the group stages of the Champions League. However, they will be looking to see that they keep their European hopes alive by progressing in the Europa League.

However, the Russian should realise the gargantuan task at hand. They are in a disadvantageous position in the tie after conceding the away goal and indeed they will have to score at least once in Germany on Thursday night to progress.

But the good news is that Rubin warmed up perfectly for the trip with a 2-0 win against Lokomotiv Moscow in their first game of the new Russian Premier League season at the weekend.


FORM GUIDE

Wolfsburg

March 13 v Borussia Monchengladbach (A) - WON 4-0 (German Bundesliga)

March 11 v Rubin Kazan (A) - DREW 1-1 (Europa League)

March 6 v VfL Bochum (H) - WON 4-1 (German Bundesliga)

February 28 v Hannover 96 (A) - WON 1-0 (German Bundesliga)

February 25 v Villarreal (H) - WON 4-1 (Europa League)

Rubin Kazan

March 14 v Lokomotiv Moscow (H) - WON 2-0 (Russian Premier League)

March 11 v Wolfsburg (H) - DREW 1-1 (Europa League)

March 7 v CSKA Moscow (N) - WON 1-0 (Russian Super Cup)

February 25 v Hapoel Tel-Aviv (A) - DREW 0-0 (Europa League)

February 18 v Hapoel Tel-Aviv (H) - WON 3-0 (Europa League)


TEAM NEWS

Wolfsburg

Last season's top goalscorer in the Bundesliga, Grafite, and defender Andrea Barzagli have been ruled out of the match against Rubin. Karim Ziani is back training and and Diego Benaglio has also made a recovery from his knee injury.

Probable Line-up (4-4-2): Hitz, Pekarik, Madlung, Riether, Schafer; Hasabe, Josue, Misimovic, Gentner; Dzeko, Martins

Rubin Kazan

There are no injury or suspension worries for the Russian champions, who are likely to field the same side that played against Wolfsburg last week.

Probable Line-up (4-5-1): Ryzhikov, Orehov, Salukvadze, Cesar Navas, Ansaldi; Karadeniz, Sibaya, Kasaev, Noboa; Bukharov, Kabze


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Edin Dzeko (Wolfsburg)

The 23-year-old has scored 14 goals and racked up five assists in the German Bundesliga. Dzeko has been prolific in Europe too, having scored four times in the Champions League group stage and added another to his tally in the Europa League as well. Dzeko will be the key attacking player for Wolfsburg and will be the main targetman with Grafite's replacement Obafemi Martins set to partner him up front on Thursday evening.

Aleksandr Bukharov (Rubin Kazan)

The 24-year-old has been a key player for Rubin Kazan over the years and he will be their main attacking threat on Thursday evening. Bukharov scored the winner against CSKA in the Russian Super Cup and he will be looking to torment the Bremen attackers on Thursday too.


PREDICTION

Wolfsburg will be looking forward to winning against Rubin Kazan, but the Russian champions have had a few good results away from home this season. The game could go into extra time but Wolfsburg could finish it off in normal time itself.

Wolfsburg 2-1 Rubin Kazan



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