Wolfsburg's Draxler in race to face Gent
07 March 2016, 22:01
Berlin - Wolfsburg are waiting on the fitness of goal-scoring Germany midfielder Julian Draxler for Tuesday's Champions League, last 16, second-leg clash at home to Gent.
Draxler netted twice in Wolfsburg's 3-2 win in Belgium in the first leg and scored in both of the German Cup holders Bundesliga wins over Hanover 96 and Borussia Moenchengladbach last week.
But having netted the opener in Saturday's 2-1 win over Gladbach, Draxler picked up a knee ligament injury, but is desperate to help Wolfsburg try and reach the quarter-finals in Europe for the first time in the club's history.
"It should be ok by Tuesday," said the 22-year-old who has made 16 appearances for Germany and was part of the 2014 World Cup-winning squad.
"I mean, on Tuesday we are playing in the Champions League. Your legs run by themselves on occasions like that.
"This is a great opportunity to make history for the club."
Wolfsburg striker Max Kruse is also an injury concern as he struggles with a thigh injury after also scoring against Gladbach.
The Germans come into the return leg with the upper hand and fresh from back-to-back Bundesliga wins.
But having raced into a 3-0 lead at Gent three weeks ago, they left the door open as the Belgians roared back with two goals in the last 10 minutes to give them hope at the Volkswagen Arena.
"We know that the thing hasn't run its course yet, but if we play the way we did against Gladbach then we'll reach the next round," said Wolfsburg's director of sport Klaus Allofs.
Coach Dieter Hecking just wants "90 minutes of hard work" from Wolfsburg.
Having left the door to the quarter-finals ajar for Hein Vanhaezebrouck's Gent, Wolfsburg defender Dante says the Germans need to react fast and play smart.
"We have to play intelligently," said the Selecao defender.
The Germans are buoyed by last Tuesday's 4-0 drubbing of Hanover when Germany winger Andre Schuerrle switched to striker and claimed his first Bundesliga hat-trick.
"Games like last Tuesday heal all wounds," said Hecking in the direction of Kruse and Draxler.
Belgian champions Gent's form has gone off the boil in recent weeks, with just two wins in their last seven games in all competitions.
A 1-1 draw at home to struggling Leuven on Friday left them two points behind Pro League leaders Club Brugge in second place, but they remain right in contention for a second straight Belgian title and have everything to play for in Wolfsburg.
Like Wolfsburg, they are in the last 16 of Europe for the first time and are eager to make more history.
Gent goalkeeper Matz Sels says the Belgians need the same fighting spirit they showed in the first leg.
"When it was 0-3 here, it looked like it would just be a city trip (to visit Wolfsburg)," said the shot-stopper.
"But we are still in the match thanks to our two goals.
"We should not throw everything open from the beginning, because conceding a goal early on could be deadly."