Aiming to end a recent DFB-Pokal hoodoo against RB Leipzig, an out-of-sorts Wolfsburg welcome the reigning champions to the Volkswagen Arena for a second-round showdown on Tuesday night.
The hosts fell to a 3-2 loss to 10-man Augsburg in their last Bundesliga affair, while Die Roten Bullen put six past Koln without reply in a demolition job.
With Danish hotshot Jonas Wind strutting his stuff in the final third, breaching opposing rearguards is not where Wolfsburg's issues lie, but for the third match in succession, Niko Kovac's side failed to pair attacking prowess with defensive mastery.
Wind's eighth top-flight goal of the campaign and a Lovro Majer penalty sent Wolfsburg a goal to the good against Augsburg following Phillip Tietz's opener, but an unfortunate Sebastian Bornauw own goal levelled proceedings, two minutes before Arne Engels came up with the decisive contribution.
Not even a late red card to Felix Uduokhai - who was one of several players to go into the referee's book during a bad-tempered battle - could spark a late fightback for Wolfsburg, who have certainly experienced a Halloween horror show in October; previous losses to Stuttgart and Bayer Leverkusen have seen Kovac's troops plummet to ninth in the rankings.
Before their alarming downturn in fortunes, Wolfsburg kicked off their campaign with a 6-0 obliteration of minnows TuS Makkabi Berlin in their DFB-Pokal opener, but this week's hosts still have just the one crown to show for their endeavours, sinking Borussia Dortmund in the 2015 showpiece.
Only one of Wolfsburg's last 11 competitive fixtures at the Volkswagen Arena has seen Kovac's men fail to make the net bulge, but a few months from their six-goal showing in the DFB-Pokal, the Wolves must pit their wits against a side who know a thing or two about such a scoreline themselves.
The manner of RB Leipzig's maiden DFB-Pokal success of the season was far less emphatic, as the reigning champions rode their luck in a 3-2 victory over Wehen Wiesbaden, where Emil Forsberg's strike and a Benjamin Sesko brace ultimately proved telling.
The latter was on the scoresheet once again when Koln came to town at the weekend, but Steffen Baumgart's charges may be wishing that they had not bothered, as a merciless Leipzig crop ran out 6-0 winners to record their third successive victory across all competitions.
While Timo Werner, David Raum and Christoph Baumgartner all added another strike to their tallies, the deadly young duo of Lois Openda and Xavi Simons stole the headlines once again, as the former notched his seventh and eighth goals of the campaign from Simons's fifth and sixth assists at the Red Bull Arena.
On the hunt for a third successive DFB-Pokal coronation in 2023-24, RB Leipzig have not suffered a second-round elimination since a penalty-shootout loss to Bayern Munich in the 2017-18 season, and a five-game victorious run on the road stands Rose's side in very good stead.
Die Roten Bullen have also been a thorn in Wolfsburg's side in DFB-Pokals gone by, as the visitors sent the Wolves packing three years in a row between 2018 and 2020, and Leipzig have also prevailed in each of the last three Bundesliga contests by an aggregate score of 7-0.
Already entering the meeting with Augsburg deprived of several players, Kovac was forced to bring off a stricken Patrick Wimmer in the 52nd minute of the weekend's Bundesliga battle, although there is hope that the attacker has not sustained anything more severe than a knock.
Nevertheless, Wimmer has been ruled out of this one, while Koen Casteels, Lukas Nmecha, Rogerio, Kilian Fischer and Felix Lange remain out of contention, although Kovac is optimistic that Rogerio might be back in action next weekend.
With Wind also dealing with a minor glitch, Tiago Tomas - who netted two of his side's six goals in the first round - ought to be handed an opportunity to impress up top, although a fit-again Vaclav Cerny provides an alternative option.
Similarly, Leipzig also emerged from their Koln crushing with a fresh attacking concern, as Dani Olmo left the field with a suspected shoulder fracture after just a seven-minute run-out off the bench and is set for another spell on the sidelines.
Werner was also forced off in the second period, but Rose has allayed fears of an injury to the former Chelsea striker, while experienced lynchpin Kevin Kampl is also expected to be back in the squad this week after missing Saturday's win due to an ankle issue.
All of Kampl, Baumgartner, Forsberg and Fabio Carvalho could square off for the chance to deputise for Simons if the Paris Saint-Germain loanee is rested, but defensive duo Willi Orban and El Chadaille Bitshiabu are continuing to recuperate from knee injuries; a similar issue will also threaten Mohamed Simakan's participation this week.
Wolfsburg possible starting lineup:
Pervan; Baku, Lacroix, Bornauw, Cozza; Arnold, Gerhardt; Cerny, Majer, Paredes; Thomas
RB Leipzig possible starting lineup:
Gulacsi; Klostermann, Lukeba, Simakan; Henrichs, Schlager, Siewald, Lenz; Forsberg; Sesko, Openda
We say: Wolfsburg 1-3 RB Leipzig
With 12 goals at the correct end of the field in their last 270 minutes of football, Leipzig - in spite of a few potential rotations - could enjoy a field day against a wobbly Wolfsburg backline, as was the case in their Bundesliga meetings last season.
DFB-Pokal exits to Die Roten Bullen are all too familiar for the hosts, who could still experience a sliver of attacking joy against their injury-hit visitors but cannot be relied upon to keep the back door bolted shut.
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