Manuel Veth –
Gent vs Wolfsburg – Thursday, October 24, 17:55BST/18:55CEST – KAA Gent Stadium, Gent, Belgium
Wolfsburg head coach Oliver Glasner has continued the excellent work started by former coach Bruno Labbadia. Labbadia led Wolfsburg to a sixth-placed finish after the club finished twice in the relegation-playoffs the years prior.
Under Glasner, Wolfsburg have had a strong start, and together with Liverpool and Juventus are just one of three clubs in Europe’s top five leagues to be still unbeaten at this point. The result is second place in the Bundesliga after eight matches, including a difficult fixture against RB Leipzig on matchday 8.
In that game, Wolfsburg were chasing a Leipzig lead until the 84th minute when Wout Weghorst scored. Most importantly, for Glasner Wolfsburg are adapting to his playing style.
“In the second half [against Leipzig], I turned to my assistant and said: ‘no matter how the game ends, I am satisfied,'” Glasner said. “The players understand what we want.”
Glasner is preaching 3-4-3 football with a typical high-press and retention system that can be typically be found among Red Bull teams. Glasner is one of four former, or current, Red Bull coaches in the top five of the Bundesliga. For Wolfsburg fans, this has meant attractive football that has resulted in four points out of the first two Europa League games as well.
Gent have also collected four points out of the first two games. On matchday 1, they beat St-Etienne and then surprisingly drew Ukrainian side Oleksandriya. Under head coach, Jess Thorup Gent have had a strong start to the season and currently sit in third-place behind Brugge and Standard Liege.
Nonetheless, Wolfsburg should be favourites at home against Gent. At the same time, the Belgians, in particular, striker Jonathan David (see below), are a dangerous side and are likely to keep this close.
Gent vs Wolfsburg – Players to look out for:
Jonathan David #16 – KAA Gent
Canadian national team striker Jonathan David has continued his rise to one of the best strikers among the European-based North American forwards. The 19-year-old striker has scored ten goals and six assists in 18 games across all competitions. Furthermore, David has also been on fire for his national team scoring 11 goals in 11 games. As a result, David is now the most valuable Canadian national team player on the planet based, according to Transfermarkt.
Wout Weghorst #9 – VfL Wolfsburg
Wout Weghorst has been the silent star of the Bundesliga this season. The tall Dutch striker has scored six goals and three assists in 11 games across all competitions. The 27-year-old forward has been involved in 63% of Wolfsburg’s goals this season and has held his pace from last year when he scored 18 goals and seven assists in 36 games across all competitions.
Gent vs Wolfsburg – Match Stats
- Wolfsburg won both matches in the round of 16 of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League against Gent in what was the only previous encounter between the two sides.
- Those are Wolfsburg’s only two matches against Belgium-based sides.
- Gent have played four others against German opposition, winning both ties against Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1991/92 UEFA Cup second round (0-0 h, 1-0 a) and Werder Bremen in the 2001 UEFA Intertoto Cup third round (3-2 a, 0-1 h).
- They have, therefore, never beaten a German club at home (D1 L2).
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Gent vs Wolfsburg – 1-3
Gent vs Wolfsburg – Lineups
Kaminski – Asare, Ngadeu-Ngadjui, Plastun, Lustig – Kums, Owusu, Odjidja-Ofoe – David – Yaremchuk, Depoitre
Head Coach: Jess Thorup
Pervan – Mbabu, Bruma, Tisserand – Roussillon, Guilavogui, Arnold, William – Brekalo, Weghorst, João Victor
Head Coach: Oliver Glasner
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.