As the group stage of the 2015-16 Champions League competition draws to a conclusion in the next two weeks with just the final games to be completed, it is possible that four Spanish teams could qualify for the knockout phase with Valencia potentially joining the two Madrid teams and Barcelona in the next round of games. Contrast that scenario with the English teams as only Manchester City are assured of further progression while Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are far from certain qualifiers. The Gunners need win at least 2-0 at Olympiakos and Chelsea must avoid a home defeat by Porto, but United face the prospect of beating Wolfsburg, a formidable team at their home Volkswagen Arena in Germany.
Wolfsburg currently lead Group B with nine points and Manchester United are one point adrift. Had the Red Devils beaten PSV Eindhoven at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening rather than drawn 0-0, Louis van Gaal’s team would have secured qualification, but now the Dutch team can progress by beating CSKA Moscow and thus accumulating the necessary 10 points.
Manchester United have failed to win both away games in this group and face a Wolfsburg team which has not lost a Bundesliga match on home turf since March 2014 and only Hannover have left the Volkswagen Arena with a point this season. Wolfsburg have already claimed two group wins at home this season via 1-0 and 2-0 victories against CSKA Moscow and PSV Eindhoven respectively, and another 2-0 win against CSKA in Moscow this week helped secure top position in the group.
Yet Wolfsburg are not unbeatable in their home stadium as both Everton and Napoli secured victories in Germany last season during European competition, but the Wolves have strengthened the squad since finishing second in the Bundesliga last term.
With the proceeds of the Kevin De Bruyne sale to Manchester City, Max Kruse has arrived from Borussia Monchengladbach to play in attack alongside the prolific Bas Dost who netted 16 league goals last season and who has contributed seven to date this term. Dante has also joined the club from Bayern Munich to add experience to the defence while 36 million euros signing Julian Draxler from Schalke will hope to recover from a groin injury to play in this important game.
The Lower Saxony team have only ever played in one previous Champions League tournament when finishing third behind Manchester United and CSKA Moscow in Group B of the 2010-11 campaign. That season Manchester United won 3-1 in Germany during December and manager Dieter Hecking will be planning to avoid a repeat performance and with Europa League football a probability should they fail.
Should Wolfsburg prosper, they will join Bayern Munich in the knockout phase as German representatives with Bayer Leverkusen needing to win their home game against Barcelona to offer any hope of qualifying from Group E.