Klopp Is Right: Wolfsburg Are to Be Feared in Bundesliga

Jerrad PetersWorld Football Staff WriterJanuary 18, 2014

From left: Wolfsburg's Luiz Gustavo, scorer Bas Dost and Daniel Caligiuri celebrate a  goal during the German Bundesliga  soccer match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and VfL Wolfsburg at the Borussia Park in Moenchengladbach, Germany, Sunday Dec. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/dpa, Marius Becker)
Marius Becker/Associated Press

If Bayern Munich are the one constant in the upper echelons of top-flight German football, their challengers typically emerge from a pool of clubs just below them that, for a few years, strive to knock the Bavarian giants from their perch atop the Bundesliga.

Most recently it’s been Borussia Dortmund that have provided Bayern their stiffest challenge, just as they did in the mid-1990s, when they won both the league and Champions League.

Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp believes Wolfsburg can contend in the Bundesliga.
Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp believes Wolfsburg can contend in the Bundesliga.JON SUPER/Associated Press

Each of Bayer Leverkusen, Stuttgart and Werder Bremen have also enjoyed some success in recent times, but the next side to emerge as a legitimate Bundesliga power could well be VfL Wolfsburg.

And that’s according to none other than Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp.

“VfL still have power,” he recently remarked in an interview with German newspaper Bild, as relayed by Goal. “They are competitors and you have to take them seriously.”

The 46-year-old also speculated that Wolfsburg owner Volkswagen was starting to increase its funding of the club, and Saturday’s capture of former Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, as reported by Eurosport, would seem to support his theory.

At Wolfsburg, De Bruyne will be expected to work as part of an attacking trio just behind striker Ivica Olic—likely between Daniel Caligiuri and Diego. Maximilian Arnold has been handling the position of late, but at just 19 years of age, the Germany U-21 international could do without the pressure of a full-time role.

And behind him will be Brazil’s Luiz Gustavo, who was signed from Bayern Munich during the summer.

Also part of manager Dieter Hecking’s squad are former Serbia underage international Slobodan Medojevic, Croatia midfielder Ivan Perisic, Portugal winger Vieirinha and promising Swiss left-back Ricardo Rodriguez, who scored in Wolfsburg’s 2-1 win at home to Dortmund in November.

Luiz Gustavo joined Wolfsburg from Bayern Munich in the summer.
Luiz Gustavo joined Wolfsburg from Bayern Munich in the summer.Lee Jin-man/Associated Press

“Everyone knows that Wolfsburg have an incredible squad,” Klopp remarked after the match, as per Soccerway. “On their day they can beat every other team, and we will have to cope with that now.”

Wolfsburg, of course, last won the Bundesliga in 2009 with a team that included the likes of Edin Dzeko, Grafite, Andrea Barzagli and Zvjezdan Misimovic.

But in the cycle that is German football’s opposition to Bayern Munich, it seems as though it could be Wolfsburg’s turn once again.