The Emirates cup : Sundays opponent VFL Wolfsburg

By Walter Broeckx

After a lovely afternoon watching our first opponent Olympic Lyon we now turn our attention to the team we will play on this,  the second day: VFL Wolfsburg.

A team that was only founded in 1945 after the end of the second world war. Wolfsburg itself is a town that has a history that goes back to 1302 when Wolfsburg castle was mentioned for the first time. But the city of Wolfsburg itself was only founded in 1938. Wolfsburg is mostly known as the town connected to Volkswagen, the German car builder. And to house the workers to build what became the Volkswagen Beetle the city was built.

And the histories of VFL Wolfsburg and Volkswagen are very much connected. At the start of their existence they had 11 green shirts but no shorts so they took bed sheets and local woman sewed them in to white shorts. Up to today they still play in those colours. And to make things worse, after only 3 months 10 of their 11 players left for another club to join the 1ste FC Wolfsburg. A club of whom I cannot find any trace anymore so we can assume they didn’t survive it.

VFL Wolfsburg had almost no history at first. They played around in their regional leagues for most of the time and only made it to the 2nd Bundesliga in the season 1992-1993. In 1995 when playing the 2nd Bundesliga they reached the German cup final but lost to Borussia Mönchengladbach home of the most unpopular man on the terraces – the one who shouts “give us a B”. But in 1997 the impossible happened and after having finished in second place in the 2nd Bundesliga they went up to the Bundesliga itself.

Predictions were that they would go down immediately. But they stayed up and after two years even went in to the Europa league after having finished in 6th place. They then played in the now abandoned Intertoto cup for a few seasons. But the club gradually got stronger and stronger and Volkswagen did their part of the job. I think they are one of the few clubs who have a permission to not being owned by the fans in Germany because of the fact that they came from a company club at the start.

And then suddenly in the season 2008-2009 the unexpected happened. VFL Wolfsburg became champions. An amazing event and that was much down to their two top scorers Grafite and Dzeko. Dzeko later went to Man City and Grafite went to earn some money in the Arab region and at the age of 36 now has returned to Brazil. Dzeko mostly sits on the bench at Manchester City.

But Wolfsburg won the title and got into the Champions League. But after that the club fell back a bit and in the season 2010-2011 they almost got relegated. Felix Magath who had taken them to their only title was called back and he managed to rescue them, just, at the end of the season.

From then on Wolfsburg were a mid-table team in the Bundesliga that finished in the middle but never came close to a title. But last season they finished in second place behind Bayern Munich. And to top of their good season they won the German cup final. They beat Borussia Dortmund in the final 3-1. That was only their second major trophy in their entire history.

VFL Wolfsburg play their home matches in the Volkswagen Arena. That name is not really surprising by now of course. The Volkswagen Arena is a rather small stadium. In the Bundesliga it has a capacity of 30.000 places. 22000 seats and 8000 standing places, as of course in the Bundesliga standing places are still allowed. But for European matches the stadium is changed in to an all seater stadium but as a result the capacity goes down to only 26.000 seats. So compared to most teams in Europe and in the Bundesliga they do have a small ground with a low capacity. But I think Volkswagen company make up the difference between their small ground and smaller income and the rest of the teams in Germany.

Who are the players to look out for? Well there is of course that Danish player we all loved or hated …NIcklas Bendtner. A striker that scores for Denmark with his eyes closed but can’t do it for the clubs he plays for it seems. A strange case – but he got a very rousing round of applause yesterday.

But their top player is one that I would have loved to see at Arsenal a few years ago. I don’t know if it was him or his entourage that made the stupid decision some youngster make and joined Chelsea. The graveyard club for young talents as a contributor called them a few days ago. The fact that Racing Genk has (had?) a kind of partnership with Chelsea might have contributed of course. But it sure was a bad move for him personally I think.

In my eyes De Bruyne is a bit like Fabregas. He can score goals but he is mostly known for his eye for the teammate. His assist numbers have always been amazingly high even in the days when he played for Racing Genk. Last season De Bruyne scored 10 goals but he had 20 assists behind his name in the Bundesliga. And that is why some clubs are wanting to pay lots of money for him. Will Wolfsburg be able to hold on to him is the question that will be answered at the highest level of the Volkswagen company.

And not all shareholders are that much in favour of paying so much money for the football club and their players, and the Volkswagen board faced a few difficult questions about it at the AGM a few months ago. Is Volkswagen willing to pay De Bruyne an unseen amount of money to keep him or are they willing to cash in and may drop a bit on the sporting side? And as some news reports in Belgium say the chance that De Bruyne will leave Wolfsburg and could be out the door before the weekend so we might not even see him.

Other players to keep an eye on are Schurrle who also almost buried his career at Chelsea and Bas Dost a tall Dutch striker that keeps Bendtner on the bench. The Dutch striker sometimes jokes that he credits his goals on having such big feet so those attending can see if his feet are really that big.

Two anniversaries…

26 July 2010: The Arsenal History Society expanded its campaign for statues around the Emirates Stadium by suggesting that there should be three statues to launch the programme – which is exactly what happened.

26 July 2014: Arsenal played the club’s first game in the USA for 25 years at the Red Bull Arena, where Thierry Henry had played.  New York won 1-0 through a goal by the son of Ian Wright.

The Untold Banner at the Emirates

16 Replies to “The Emirates cup : Sundays opponent VFL Wolfsburg”

  1. Interesting read, thanks for that. De Bruyne’s stats sound almost identical (if not identical) to Ozil’s when he was still in the Bundesliga. Haven’t seen much of him, but can’t wait to watch him play. Hope Wolfsburg cough up the cash to keep him; the Bundesliga needs to keep some level of competitiveness, even if it is tiny at the moment. Funny that the striker who’s keeping the Lord on the bench attributes his goal scoring to his big feet – think ol Nick’s can be attributed to his big head.

  2. Today’s weather forecast is for heavy rain all day at the Emirates, becoming lighter at about 16:00. It is also much cooler than yesterday so I wouldn’t expect the same goal fest.

    For anyone planning on going to the ladies game at BorehamWood this afternoon check on or with the BorehamWood web site before setting out the Friday friendly there involving our U21s was called off following a similarly wet day.

  3. So we should get another opportunity to assess Arsenal’s “desperate need” for a striker. I loved Arsene’s response to this with a droll “when you score six goals, I concede that you don’t have a desperate need”.

  4. No mention of the man that picked Wolfsburg over us, so he could be with his Brazilian mate, Gustavo!

  5. Does the Arsenal have the grass covering covers to be covering their Emirates Stadium playing pitch to protect it against the onslaught of a continuous rains to keep the pitch in near excellent condition? Like the ones I am used to seeing being used at the Wilmbledon tennis championships. Arsenal can acquire a similar one and be covering the Emirates turf with it when is rains before any match day/time. Talking about De Bruyne, I am impressed with those 20 assists and 10 goals he had for Wolfsburg last season. Had Barcelona bought Aaron Ramsey, would the Boss had bought De Buryne if he was looking for an already-made playmaker to replace Ramsey rather than to promote a youth to fill the void? In essence, the Bruyne gave 30 goals to VfL last season. I wish he is playing for Arsenal. Imagine if we have playmakers: Ozil, Cazorla, Wilshere and De Buryne at Arsenal, won’t the Gunners rule the Premier League midfield? If it isn’t late, would the Boss give it a thought? In my earlier post on this website, I have already predicted a 4-0 victory to the Gunners over Wolfsburg. I am sticking to that my prediction even if De Bruyne, Lord Bendtner and Andre Schurrie are all on the field for Wolfsburg.

  6. If we are getting carried away with yesterday’s win, let’s all pan Chelsea; mark them down for relegation, say I, entering into the spirit of things.

    Of course we can’t be as euphoric. Last pre-season, Yaya Sanogo scored four against Benfica and that hasn’t ended well, has it? It’s a time when football flatters to deceive at either end of the spectrum. Defeat is as much a portent of doom as six-goal victories are a vision of things to come.

    There is an element of truth though, in what he says. We are not desperate for another striker so no, he hasn’t got to rush out and buy one immediately. It’s just the hyperbole of football and part of his job is to defend his current players but there’s more to this than general transfer chat. Lord ‘Arris of Axminster fanned the flames with his outburst in The Heil and it seems to have been an interview which rankles with the manager,

    On one side the questions in the press is, ‘How do you keep everybody happy?’, and on the other hand, one minute later they ask me, ‘Why don’t you buy any more players?’. So, if I cannot keep the ones I already have happy why should I buy more? I think our squad is well balanced quality wise and numbers wise because of the number of games we have we need everybody.

    I’m guessing that Madame Wenger has cancelled the order for the new kitchen lino with ‘Arris’ carpet emporium.

    Today’s match against Wolfsburg is another matter. The XI will be changed and Petr Cech makes his home début, with Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla likely to take the starring role in midfield. Another win is the order of the day, setting us for the week ahead for the only pre-season test at Wembley a week today.

  7. Samuel
    There is no pitch protection against rain other than excellent drainage. Wet pitch makes for fast game.

  8. Must be every you players’ dream to join Chel$kie and have their career PARKED by the PARKING specialist/s 🙂

  9. Notts County is where Arsenal Siobhan Chamberlain (goalkeeper) went on loan, and we find that she is not in goal for the game today. Which is consistent with the mens game.

    Notts County opened the scoring on 4 minutes. It was well into the second half before Arsenal equalised. Arsenal then pushed on to get a second goal. Game ended 2-1 to Arsenal, after 5 minutes of extra time. Arsenal is now in second, behind Sunderland only on goal difference. Chelsea are in 3rd, and play later today.

    I didn’t see any mention of how much it rained either before or during the game. It might have been there, but the twitter feed appeared to be a little corrupt.


  10. WOO HOO, HOO ! Up the Gunners! Great stuff from the younglings.

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