Opinion was clear after the 2-0 defeat to Schalke. "The important thing is to get back on track asap," said coach Heiko Herrlich, and goalkeeper Bernd Leno, who produced a brilliant performance against the Royal Blues, declared: "Now we're under more pressure at Wolfsburg as we can't afford to lose touch with the teams above us." Up to now this term, Bayer 04 have always hit back away from home after losing at the BayArena: The 3-1 defeat against Bayern Munich was followed by a 4-1 win at Hoffenheim and the loss at home to Hertha Berlin by three points on the road at Hamburg SV – fingers crossed, it will happen again for a third time.
Regardless of the outcome of the game, the Werkself will meet up with three familiar faces on Saturday: Admir Mehmedi made 86 appearances scoring 13 goals since joining the Black and Reds in 2015 before moving on to VfL in January in search of more time on the pitch. In addition, Wolfsburg are now managed by the coaching team that led Bayer 04 in 2008/09: Bruno Labbadia and his assistant Eddy Sözer, in place of Andries Jonker and Martin Schmidt, are tasked with ensuring the Green and Whites do not end up third from bottom in the play-off spot. The only current member of the Bayer 04 first team squad, who played for the Werkself under Labbadia, is Stefan Kießling. Labbadia takes on Bayer 04 for a twelfth time and has yet to win either with Hamburg (three defeats, two draws) or Stuttgart (four defeats, two draws).
Bayer 04 are now unbeaten in nine away games in Germany's top flight, picking up five wins and four draws. The last defeat for the Werkself on the road was on matchday five in Berlin. The previous similar run was under Jupp Heynckes between May 2010 and January 2011 with ten games without losing in succession. The Leverkusen club record is twelve away fixtures without defeat, also under Heynckes in 2009/10.
There is another notable stat. Wolfsburg have taken the lead in nine home games this season but only ended up winning twice (with six draws and one defeat). So Bayer 04 will not be unduly concerned or thrown off course if they go behind on Saturday. Wolfsburg have also failed to win in the past four home games. On the other hand: The Wolves have won 14 out of 20 home games against Bayer 04.
It's a time for records. Charles Aránguiz clocked up 50 appearances for Bayer 04 against Schalke. Others could follow. Kevin Volland has been on the verge of scoring goal number 50 in the Bundesliga for weeks, Stefan Kießling is ahead of his 400th game in the top flight. 'Kies' would also be the 66th player in the history of the Bundesliga to achieve that impressive number of appearances.
Bayer 04 have two players suspended for the match in Wolfsburg. Dominik Kohr picked up two yellow cards against Schalke and is serving a one-match ban as is Panos Retsos who was a fifth yellow card at the weekend. Lucas Alario is on the verge of a ban as the Argentinean has four bookings. Wolfsburg's Maximilian Arnold returns after a one-match ban.
Bernd Leno celebrates his 26th birthday the day after the Wolfsburg game. It's remarkable the Germany keeper has already played 224 Bundesliga games for Bayer 04 at such a young age. There is no doubt about the present Bernd wants from his team-mates: Three points in Wolfsburg and, ideally, with a clean sheet as well.
All Bayer 04 fans, unable to support the Werkself in Wolfsburg, are welcome at the Schwadbud: The fan pub in the East Stand at the BayArena is open, as usual for away games, for watching the match on the big screen. Doors open on Saturday at 14.30 CET, one hour before kick-off: Call in to join fellow Werkself fans in getting behind Bayer 04 against VfL Wolfsburg. Further information and background on the game plus live match reporting are available on our social media channels or on the matchday mode at bayer04.de.
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