VfL Wolfsburg are averaging more than two goals a game in the 2014-15 Europa League. The Bundesliga club has been one of the more attractive teams going forward in the competition this season.
However, for all their attacking qualities, Wolfsburg’s lack of defensive structure has made fans of the German side nervous at numerous points during the club’s European campaign.
Time after time, his attack-first approach has left Wolfsburg’s defense exposed. But because his forward line of Bas Dost and Kevin De Bruyne has been so productive, coach Dieter Hecking is willing to continue rolling the dice and urging his players to push forward.
Wolfsburg have equaled their longest run in European competition with this season’s campaign. However, they are the least experienced side remaining in the competition.
Today’s opponent, Napoli, will present the young German side with their sternest test to date.
Napoli have only allowed four goals in ten Europa League games this term, which is in complete contrast to the Italian club’s domestic form.
Their attacking line led by Gonzalo Higuain, mixed with the creative skills of Marek Hamsik, Dries Mertens, Jonathan de Guzman, Manolo Gabbiadini and Jose Maria Callejon makes Napoli a handful for any European defense; particularly one with the defensive shortcomings of Wolfsburg.
There is also the fact that Napoli coach Rafael Benitez boasts one of the best managerial pedigrees in Europe. The Spanish tactician has won the UEFA Cup/Europa League twice, and also has a Champions League title on his CV.
While Napoli have disappointed during their domestic campaign, they are one of the favorites to reach the Europa League final in Warsaw.
Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking is aware of the threat posed to his side by their Italian opposition. But the German manager has made it clear he isn’t planning on changing his team’s approach against the Serie A side.
“We got the most attractive but also the toughest quarter-final draw,” Hecking said.
“We will play this match like we did our last few matches; enjoying it, having fun, playing without pressure, and not thinking about the result.
“Obviously we want to bring this great season to a big climax by winning a trophy, but that is still a long way off.”
Programming note: Wolfsburg v. Napoli will be shown LIVE today at 3:00pm EST on FOX Sports 1 and FoxSoccer2Go.
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