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Wolfsburg Season Preview: Can The Wolves Return To Europe?

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Real Madrid CF v VfL Wolfsburg - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Second Leg Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images

About a year ago, things were going pretty well for Wolfsburg fans. The club that was fresh off a DFB-Pokal final victory and led by the Bundesliga MVP looked ready to compete domestically and in Europe. Many experts predicted them to easily take second in the league, and maybe even challenge Bayern for the Bundesliga title.

A year later, it seems as if these experts were... crying wolf.

After a decent month of August, it all went downhill. By the 1st of September Kevin de Bruyne was wearing City Blue, and the club started to tumble. The tipping point seemed to be a massive 5-1 thrashing by Robert Lewandowski Bayern Münich, which they never seemed to fully recover from. A string of incredibly disappointing performances, including two separate 7 match winless streaks, left them firmly out of competition for the title. Finishing 8th (and thereby missing out on Europe entirely) was the cherry on top of the sad, sad proverbial cake that was the 2015-16 Wolfsburg season.

Oh, and mixed somewhere in that mess they somehow made it to the Champions League Quarterfinal, and managed to get two goals up on Real Madrid before being knocked out.

So, how has the summer panned out so far for the VW Beetles?

Transfer Summary

So, by years’ end the VFL management obviously had some work to do. In order to ensure a return to weeknight football, moves had to be made. Let’s take a look at what they did!

Transfers in: (fees per transfermarkt)

Yannick Gerhardt- FC Köln (€13 Million)

Jeffrey Bruma- PSV Eindhoven (€11.5 Million)

Josip Brekalo- Dinamo Zagreb (€6 Million)

KUBA!!! - (€5 Million)

Daniel Didavi - VFB Stuttgart (Free Transfer)

Various U-19 promotions

My thoughts: From a Wolfsburg perspective, I like these signings. They didn’t take many risks in terms of price, and they got some good players. They had a big hole at center forward last year, and the only player they brought in to feel that hole was 18 year old Josip Brekalo. The kid is talented, but I’m not sure that he can be the goalscorer that the Wolves need... at least for now.

Other notes:

Yannick Gerhardt could have an impact on the midfield. He had a decent year for Köln, is only 22, and is tactically flexible in that he can play nearly anywhere in the attacking midfield.

Seriously though, watch out for Josip Brekalo; the 18 year Croat has potential to be an absolute stud.

If the Euros taught us anything, it’s that Jakub Blaszczykowski still has something left in the tank. We wish you the best of luck Kuba, and we hope that you can help Wolfsburg return to Europe!!

Transfers out:

André Schürrle- Borussia Dortmund (€30 Million)

Naldo- Schalke 04 (Free transfer)

Felipe- Chavez (Free transfer)

My thoughts: Besides selling one of their better forwards and letting their best center-back walk, not bad. €30 Million is a good haul for Schürrle in my opinion, but not getting any cash for Naldo or Felipe kind of makes that moot. Naldo is pretty old (33), but he still is one skilled Center Back.

Other Notes:

Hey Wolfsburg, we’ll take Draxler if you don’t want him!

Season Prediction

Wolfsburg have gotten better without a doubt. They were already a pretty talented squad, probably undeserving of an 8th place finish. With these new additions they should be able to push their way back into the Europa League. Unfortunately for Wolfsburg, I don’t see them pushing out either Schalke or Gladbach for the final Champions League berth (assuming that Dortmund, Bayern, and Leverkusen go 1,2,3). It’s going to be a rebuilding year for the Wolves, but Thomas Tuchel and Co. should not take them lightly.

Prediction: 6th place.