Wolfsburg are set to claim their first home win of the season when they take on winless VfB Stuttgart and new signing Dan-Axel Zagadou on Saturday (kick-off: 3.30pm CEST).
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Wolfsburg striker Lukas Nmecha has scored three of his side’s five league goals so far but will play no role after leaving the German side early with a knee complaint. Former Stuttgart striker Omar Marmoush could lead the line for him as Wolves look to recover from a 2-0 loss to Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin before the international break. He could certainly be content to smash his Bundesliga duck for the campaign, as Niko Kovac’s side have picked up just five points from seven appearances so far. Austrian striker Patrick Wimmer has received another blow in training and it’s a doubt, but Denmark’s Jonas Wind could still come back in the running. Out of favor with Kovac, Max Kruse now has an injury which should keep him out for several weeks.
Stuttgart signed free agent Zagadou in mid-September, and the former Borussia Dortmund defender played 60 minutes in a friendly against Swiss side Grasshopper last week. Pellegrino Matarazzo has been cautious about Zagadou’s chances of featuring this weekend, but the American coach will be happy to have a little more help. Stuttgart’s 3-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt was just their second of the campaign, but it means they are one of only two sides – along with bottom club Bochum – yet to have won. With the visitors only ahead of Wolfsburg on goal difference, they will be hoping left-back Borna Sosa will shake off the fever to start. He hasn’t trained this week, after scoring a goal against Denmark that helped Croatia qualify for the UEFA Nations League finals.
Look: Stuttgart enjoyed their last trip to Wolfsburg
- All three Nmecha goals in the Bundesliga this season have come at home.
- Kovac has won three of his four meetings with Stuttgart as a coach, losing the other.
- Wolves are winless in four home Bundesliga games since April 22 (5-0 against Mainz).
- Marmoush scored three goals in 21 competitive games for Stuttgart last season. He has one in eight for Wolfsburg in 2022/23.
- Stuttgart won last season’s corresponding game 2-0 in December. It was their first win at Wolfsburg since 2005 (13 matches).
- The visitors have been involved in five league-leading draws.
Wolfsburg: Casteels – Baku, Lacroix, Van de Ven, Otavio – Svanberg, Arnold (c), Franjic – Waldschmidt, Marmoush, Brekalo
Out: Kruse (not considered), L. Nmecha (knee)
Doubtful: Roussillon (Achilles), Wimmer (knee), Wind (thigh)
Coach: Niko Kovac
Stuttgart: Müller – Mavropanos, Anton, Ito – Führich, Endo (c), Karazor, Ahamada, Silas – Guirassy, Tiago
Out: Sosa (fever), Vagnoman (foot)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo