. The personnel situation at VfL Wolfsburg has eased considerably compared to the past few weeks, when nine players were absent in some cases. The Bundesliga soccer club will be able to use a new center back in the game at VfB Stuttgart (Saturday, 15.30 pm) will again rely on William (yellow ban served) and very likely also on Jerôme Roussillon, Sebastian Jung and Gian-Luca Itter (all of whom have been injured recently). This is encouraging for the last two games of the season. One cornerstone, however, will no longer be able to help out at all: John Anthony Brooks. "We have gone through everything with him again. He still feels pain in the inner ligament. It makes no sense. He will unfortunately be out," says Bruno Labbadia.
The VfL coach had so far fully relied on the 1.96-meter US American as a pillar in the defense. In 29 of 32 games he was on the pitch, only once he had to watch because he had picked up the fifth yellow card, the two most recent games he had already missed because of his inner ligament injury. Otherwise: Brooks is set. Although he often afforded himself lapses in concentration, which led to dangerous scenes of the opponents, but Labbadia stuck with him.
The VfL coach wanted to form a solid axis in the team, which should continue to exist even if one part is weak. Goalkeeper Koen Casteels, who will also not play another game due to a muscle injury, and midfielder and captain Josuha Guilavogui, who was out for almost three months due to a cruciate ligament rupture in the Hinrunde, are other parts of Labbadia's axis. The coach is calm about the fact that he will no longer be able to rely on two of these pillars in the final spurt of the league. "Then others have to step in again," he says succinctly.
In the previous week against Nuremberg, William and Roussillon were absent in addition to Casteels and Brooks. Pavao Pervan was in goal, Elvis Rexhbecaj played on the right side of defense, Renato Steffen on the left – Labbadia had to improvise. "It was remarkable how the team solved the failures collectively."His Wolfsburg team won 2:0 and can still dream of the European Cup. In Stuttgart, a win is mandatory. With which defensive formation?
William will replace Rexhbecaj on the right side of defense, and Roussillon, if he can handle the training load well, Steffen on the left. Brooks' place in central defense likely to go to Marcel Tisserand. "He has done very well in the last four games, in which he has played in different positions in some cases," praised Labbadia. The 26-year-old Congolese, who had played almost no role until Brooks' injury, even scored his first Bundesliga goal against Nuremberg. Felix Uduokhai is likely to be left on the bench once again. The 21-year-old is currently only the B solution in both central and full-back positions.
Because Brooks had always played until the end, only the reserve role remained for the highly talented Uduokhai. In the new season, that could change. If there are interested parties for the US American who turn the corner with a reasonable offer, VfL would probably not resist a transfer. It is possible that the game against Frankfurt on Easter Monday, when Brooks still scored the 1-1 equalizer at the end of the game, was his last in the Wolfsburg jersey.