After a 1-0 defeat in Wolfsburg, Torsten Lieberknecht is confident that Eintracht Braunschweig can come from behind to win promotion to the Bundesliga. Wolfsburg coach Andries Jonker is expecting a difficult second leg.Eintracht Braunschweig coach Torsten Lieberknecht has said he is confident that the atmosphere generated by his team’s supporters can inspire his players to a historic comeback in the second leg of the relegation playoff against Wolfsburg on Monday night.
“The fans will certainly make 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 second Bundesliga has ever achieved promotion after losing the first leg. But Lieberknecht believes his players have what it takes to overturn Thursday’s 1-0 defeat.
“This is our last chance to achieve something historic,” he told reporters 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 a controversial penalty decision against his team in Wolfsburg that led to Mario Gomez’s winning goal, but he cut a calmer figure ahead of the second leg, and described the atmosphere in the Lions’ camp as “excitedly relaxed.” Nevertheless, Braunschweig will have to cope without injured attackers Domi Kumbela und Julius Biada.
With the hosts promising a hostile atmosphere, the Bundesliga side withdrew to the calmer surroundings of a 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 that kept him out of the first leg. French midfielder Josuha Guilavogui is also doubtful after being substituted with a muscle problem on Thursday. “We’ll have to see if he can play,” Jonker said.
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 a 100 percent subsidiary of Volkswagen, and Volkwagen doesn’t let its subsidiaries fail,” Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, the chairman of Wolfsburg’s supervisory board and member of Volkwagen’s executive board said.