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Preview: Wolfsburg vs. Union Berlin - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Wolfsburg and Union Berlin, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Wolfsburg take on Union Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with the hosts looking to remain in the Champions League qualification positions.

Union Berlin, meanwhile, still have a chance of competing in Europe themselves next season.


Match preview

Wolfsburg's Wout Weghorst celebrates scoring their second goal on January 9, 2021© Reuters

This time last month, Wolfsburg looked all but assured of competing in the Champions League next season for the first time since reaching the quarter-final in the 2015-16 campaign, but three defeats in their last four matches has seen fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt and fifth-placed Borussia Dortmund move one point and two points behind them respectively.

The Wolves' 2-0 defeat at home to Dortmund last time out was a particularly bitter blow, especially as BVB were reduced to ten men after Jude Bellingham's 60th-minute dismissal.

However, two superb strikes from Erling Braut Haaland either side of half time proved to be the difference between the two sides, with Oliver Glasner's men unusually lacking penetration. Indeed, despite having 21 shots across the match, Dortmund goalkeeper Marwin Hitz was only tested on two occasions.

Wolfsburg remain in the driving seat for a top-four place, but with tricky fixtures against in-form sides RB Leipzig and Mainz 05 to wrap up their season, they could really use a victory on Saturday to calm any nerves and strengthen their position in the table.

Union Berlin coach Urs Fischer reacts in February 2021© Reuters

Union Berlin will certainly be no pushovers, however, with only the top four teams in the division having lost fewer matches than Urs Fischer's side this season.

They have European football of their own to fight for, too, given that they sit level on points with seventh-placed Borussia Monchengladbach.

Whoever occupies that position at the end of the season is likely to qualify for next season's inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League, although Bayer Leverkusen are only four points ahead of both sides in the second Europa League qualification spot.

Given that this is still only Union Berlin's second ever season in Germany's top flight, a European finish would be a remarkable achievement by Fischer and his players, although it would almost certainly necessitate adding greater squad depth for next season.

Based on their performance last time out against Werder Bremen, they would be good value for it, too, with Joel Pohjanpalo's clinical second-half hat-trick sealing a 3-1 victory. If Fischer's side can be as ruthless in both boxes as they have been for most of the season, there is every chance that they can upset the Wolves on Saturday.

Wolfsburg Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Union Berlin Bundesliga form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W



Team News

Wolfsburg's Renato Steffen celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates against Union Berlin on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Renato Steffen, who opened the scoring in a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture, is unlikely to recover from his ligament injury in time to feature, but will be hoping to play another part in Wolfsburg's season yet.

Marin Pongracic is facing a race against time to play again this season due to his leg injury, while Bartosz Bialek suffered an ACL injury in training last week and as such could be out for the rest of the calendar year.

Glasner could be tempted to restore winger Josip Brekalo to his starting XI in order to retain more natural width, with Maximilian Philipp or Yannick Gerhardt potentially dropping out of the side as a result.

Union Berlin, meanwhile, were dealt a blow themselves after Cedric Teuchert was stretchered off due to a knee injury during the win against Bremen. The forward will miss the rest of the season.

Max Kruse, Leon Dajaku, Taiwo Awoniyi, Sheraldo Becker and Anthony Ujah are all doubts for the trip to Wolfsburg, too, leaving Fischer short of attacking options.

Petar Musa will be on standby should Kruse miss out with a minor muscle issue, but Union Berlin's top goalscorer is likely to play through any pain for the cause.

Wolfsburg possible starting lineup:
Casteels; Mbabu, Lacroix, Brooks, Otavio; Schlager, Arnold; Baku, Gerhardt, Brekalo; Weghorst

Union Berlin possible starting lineup:
Luthe; Friedrich, Knoche, Schlotterbeck; Trimmel, Promel, Andrich, Ingvartsen, Lenz; Kruse, Pohjanpalo


SM words green background

We say: Wolfsburg 2-1 Union Berlin

We can envisage a narrow victory for the Wolves against a Union Berlin side which has proved tough to beat this season.

Glasner will be hoping Kruse does miss out with injury, as the visitors often lack creativity without their attacking talisman.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


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How you voted: Wolfsburg vs Union Berlin

Wolfsburg
82.5%
Draw
12.5%
Union Berlin
5.0%
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Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick pictured on April 10, 2021
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Saturday's Bundesliga predictions including Mainz vs. Bayern Munich
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CBayern MunichBayern34246499445578
2RB Leipzig34198760322865
3Borussia DortmundDortmund342041075462964
4Wolfsburg341710761372461
5Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt341612669531660
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen3414101053391452
7Union BerlinUnion Berlin34121485043750
8Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach341310116456849
9Stuttgart34129135655145
10Freiburg34129135252045
11Hoffenheim341110135254-243
12Mainz 0534109153956-1739
13Augsburg34106183654-1836
14Hertha Berlin34811154152-1135
15Arminia Bielefeld3498172652-2635
16FC Koln3489173460-2633
RWerder Bremen34710173657-2131
RSchalke 04Schalke3437242586-6116

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