VfL Wolfsburg are confident their recent good form can carry them past Gent on Tuesday (9.45pm) and into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time.
The Wolves, who won the first leg 3-2 in Belgium after leading 3-0 and conceding two late goals, are fuelled up on confidence following a 2-1 victory over in-form Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.
It was their second league win in five days and moved them back into seventh place in the table.
“When you win against such a top team like Gladbach then you are allowed to be confident,” said Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs. “We are back in the game.”
Wolfsburg, last season’s runners-up and German Cup winners, seem to have recovered from their slump earlier in the campaign in time for the biggest European game in the club’s history.
“We know that the tie is not finished yet,” Allofs said. “But if we play like we did against Gladbach then we will advance into the next round.”
Julian Draxler, who scored against both Gent and Gladbach, limped off on Saturday midway through the second half but is expected to be fit for Tuesday.
Max Kruse, who also scored in both those games, picked up a knock but will be ready to face Gent, said coach Dieter Hecking.
“Games like the one on Tuesday should heal every wound,” Hecking said.
Gent slipped two points behind Belgian league leaders Club Bruges after a 1-1 draw with second-bottom OH Leuven on Friday. Gent failed to find a winner despite their opponents having their goalkeeper sent off.
Coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck is still sweating over the fitness of striker Laurent Depoitre, who missed Friday’s match and Saturday training with a bad back and strained abdomen.
Serbian centre back Stefan Mitrovic, whose foot injury has kept him out for two weeks, is also a doubt.
Yet even if they are depleted, the Belgians believe they have a chance in Germany.
“When we were 0-3 down (against Wolfsburg), everyone thought this away tie would be just a city outing for us,” goalkeeper Matz Sels said when asked if he was optimistic about the return leg.
“But thanks to the two goals we scored we have made it a contest. We certainly shouldn’t throw it open at the start because it would be deadly for us to concede a goal.”
“Even if we only go 1-0 up in the 80th minute it would 10 minutes of jitters for Wolfsburg and then you never know if you have another good crack with the ball,” he said.