After entering the traditional Bundesliga winter-break on an unprecedented high of being just 11 points adrift of league leaders, Bayern Munich, there was talk whether VFL Wolfsburg could replicate the title winning season of 2008/09.
Indeed, at the start of the current season and just like five years ago, if you were to tell Wolfsburg’s owners, players and fans that they had a chance of winning the Bundesliga, they would have advised you to take a seat and down a shot of Jӓgermeister.
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To put it quite simply, Wolfsburg despite being one of the biggest clubs in Germany, are conservative in every possible manner, whether this be their recruitment or season aspirations.
Indeed, when Nicklas Bendtner, also comically referred to as “Lord Bendtner”, arrived from Premier League outfit Arsenal on a three year deal there was even speculation that the club had lost the plot and were heading out of the Bundesliga via the backdoor.
Pessimistic you might say. Perhaps, but did anyone really expect that Borussia Dortmund would be in the same situation as some off the boil pundits and fans expected of the Lone Wolves?
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If there was any really truly stand out team in the Bundesliga season then you would not be judged for looking past the multi millions of Bayern Munich and suggesting VFL Wolfsburg instead.
Hard act to follow
To put it simply they have been a class act and summarise what the Bundesliga is really all about, with manager Dieter Hecking moulding a Wolfsburg side which ooze in confidence and panache, whilst on a fairly modest budget.
Indeed this is what the city of Wolfsburg have been doing best since 1937, by creating well-oiled, aesthetically pleasing and technical machines, and I am not just talking about Volkswagen either, who have their headquarters in the proud city.
No, I am talking about a team that has turned heads throughout Germany and the world beyond by playing an aggressive style of football which has ensured that they are the ones to keep Bayern on their toes and not Dortmund for once.
However, just like a cosmopolitan Volkswagen Golf, one gets the feeling if anything could quite possibly be done to create both the car of the century or indeed, in Wolfsburg’s case, the team of the year. Perhaps the latter have more of a chance. Scrap that actually, they have a real chance.
Although to make history by knocking Bayern of their perch and entering European football with a serious point to prove, they will have to show the world that they can remain true to their words.
RIP Junior Malanda
Such words have gathered serious momentum in recent weeks following the tragic and unexpected death of midfielder, Junior Malanda who passed away after a car crash on January.
In a press-meeting in the wake of the Belgian international’s death, who prior to his passing was considered to be the holy grail in Wolfsburg’s quest to become a team of repute once more, a tearful Dieter Hecking said that the club would make the 20-year-old proud.
The 50-year-old manager promised that his team were united in their goals to topple Bayern and dominate German football, whilst at the same time outlining plans to strengthen his Green army even further.
Wolves target Andre Schurrle
One name which has entered the fold is a surname which every single German has stored in their subconscious after watching their country secure a fourth World Cup title last year in Brazil last year.
Can you guess who it is? Well the reports say that the club are in serious discussions to bring Andre Schurrle back to Germany, and in so ending his Chelsea nightmare.
It has been claimed that both parties are contemplating a £17 million move for the man who plunged Germany into World Cup fever last year. Could he be the man to do the same to Wolfsburg? Quite possibly.
Indeed, Hecking has long said that his side are missing the finishing touch, whilst also hinting that his left-wing needs to be spruced up with both Ivan Perisic and Daniel Caligiuri hoping to move to pastures new.
With Wolfsburg having just the right funds to finance such a move, it seems that the stage is set for the Greens to up the ante on Bayern by signing one of Germany’s best prospects and delivering them their first piece of silverware in five years.
Even if Hecking’s brave soldiers were to be unsuccessful then who says that they can’t kick start their return to domestic dominance by winning the DFB Pokal? Only the football gods know the answer to this and, rest assured, if these higher beings do exist then Malanda might be helping them with their decision.