Dimitrios Grammozis: We have to maintain a good mentality in Wolfsburg
A tough task awaits Dimitrios Grammozis and his team as they travel to face VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday (15:30 CET), a side who are still unbeaten at home this season. “Nevertheless, we are not without a chance,” said the Royal Blues’ new head coach. “We’re travelling to Wolfsburg with the intention of playing good football and getting a positive result.”
The side from Lower Saxony have won seven matches and drawn four at the Volkswagen Arena so far this season. Grammozis described VfL as a strong and well-coordinated team who rightly occupy one of the top positions in the Bundesliga table.
Gaining courage from the DFB-Pokal game
S04 put in one of their strongest displays of the season a few weeks ago against Oliver Glasner’s side as they were narrowly defeated 1-0 in the last 16 of the DFB-Pokal at the beginning of February. Grammozis was keen to emphasise that this performance was one that should give the players self-belief and encouragement for Saturday’s game. “It’s always difficult to compare games, especially because the squad situation six weeks ago was different to how it is now. But the boys should take encouragement from the strong performance we showed then into this game. I’m convinced that we have the quality to hurt VfL.”
I’m convinced that we have the quality to hurt VfL.
The Greek is expecting an intensive game against the Wolves, in which his players will have to push themselves to the limit. “Against Mainz, the boys gave it their all and worked very well defensively. We also defended set pieces well. We have to maintain this good mentality in Wolfsburg,” explained the 42-year-old. However, that alone is not enough to win a Bundesliga match. “We still have to improve when we have the ball. We’ve done a lot of intense work on that over the last few training sessions. The team pushed hard and showed that they have the desire to get better.” Grammozis also emphasised the role of playing courageously on Saturday.
Mascarell suspended following fifth booking
Grammozis will be without Omar Mascarell as he plans for the Bundesliga clash, as the Spaniard received his fifth yellow card of the season in last weekend’s goalless draw against Mainz. In addition to this, Ralf Fährmann, Matija Nastasic, Nassim Boujellab, Salif Sané, Mark Uth, Goncalo Paciencia, Steven Skrzybski, Kilian Ludewig, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Nabil Bentaleb are still not available for selection, with all still in rehabilitation training. “The boys with injuries are making progress step by step. They’re all aiming to be back out on the pitch as soon as possible,” reported the head coach. However, Grammozis was reluctant to give exact predictions about who would be returning to the pitch and when. Together with the medical department, the coaching staff are looking at player progression from day to day to chart improvements in condition.
In good news, Amine Harit could return for the game at the Volkswagen Arena. The Moroccan, who was taken out of the starting XI at short notice in the last game due to muscular problems, has trained individually this week. “We’ll have to wait and see how Amine responds to training and determine whether he can cope with the strain. If it all goes okay, he is definitely an option,” finished Grammozis.