After a 0-1 loss in Wolfsburg, Torsten Lieberknecht is confident Eintracht Braunschweig can come from behind to win promotion to the Bundesliga. Wolfsburg boss Andries Jonker is expecting an intense occasion.Eintracht Braunschweig coach Torsten Lieberknecht is confident that the atmosphere generated by his team’s supporters can inspire his players to an historic comeback in the second leg of the promotion/relegation play-off against Wolfsburg on Monday night.
“The fans will certainly create a racket,” he said. “Playing in Braunschweig on a Monday night is never comfortable.”
Only two second division sides have prevailed since the play-offs where re-introduced in 2009, and no team from the 2.Bundesliga has ever achieved promotion after losing the first leg. But Lieberknecht believes his players have what it takes to overturn Thursday’s 0-1 defeat.
“This is our last chance to achieve something historic,” he told press on Sunday. “We’ve had to pick ourselves up time and time again this season and now we have to pick ourselves up again. Nobody deserves promotion more than us. We have the will to win and the confidence to reach our goal.”
Lieberknecht reacted furiously to the controversial penalty decision against his team in Wolfsburg which led to Mario Gomez’ goal but cut a calmer figure ahead of the second leg, describing the atmosphere in the Lions’ camp as “excitedly relaxed.” Nevertheless, Braunschweig will have to cope without the injured attackers Domi Kumbela und Julius Biada.
With the hosts promising a hostile atmosphere, the Bundesliga side withdrew to the calmer surroundings of an East Westphalian countryside retreat to prepare for the second leg, where they hope to avoid relegation in the year they celebrate 20 years in the top division.
“It will be an intense occasion, just like on Thursday,” said coach Andries Jonker. “We all know how important this game is. We’re prepared for everything. The team knows what is expected.”
Despite the fighting talk from his opposite number however, Jonker suggested that Wolfsburg’s local rivals may have peaked too soon.
“The Braunschweig players gave everything they had on Thursday,” he opined. “Can they do any more? No idea. But that would surprise me.”
The Wolves will once again be without left-back ricardo Rodriguez, who has still not recoverd from an ankle injury which kept him out of the first leg. French midfielder Josuha Guilavogui is also doubtful after being subsituted with a muscle problem on Thursday. “We’ll have to see if he can play,” said Jonker.
Following funding cuts from parent company Volkswagen in the wake of last year’s emissions scandal, relegation could be a financial disaster for Wolfsburg. Could the football club still count on adequate funding in the second division?
“VfL Wolfsburg is 100% a daughter of Volkswagen,” said Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, chief of Wolfsburg’s supervisory board and Volkwagen board member, “and Volkwagen will not let its daughter fall.”