A 2-1 victory versus the previously unbeaten Zenit St Petersburg assured Gent’s place in the last 16, becoming the first Belgian side to progress to the Champions League knockout stage in the process.
Wolfsburg moves forward in the qualification with a 3-2 matchday six home win against Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United. Four wins out of six, including three home wins, saw the German side take top spot with 12 points, finishing two clear of second-placed PSV.
Gent vs Wolfsburg
How they got here:
Gent finished second in group H winning half of their games while losing 2 with a draw to complete the 6 game schedule. Wolfsburg were group B winners with a record of 4 wins and 2 losses and captured top spot with a dramatic match day 6 victory over Manchester United 3-2 also eliminated the United side from any further Champions League play.
These teams have not previously met and their only previous matches against any German opponents date back to the early 2000’s when facing and beating Bremen in 2001 winning the two leg tie. Wolfsburg come into this 2 leg affair with much more recent Euro play having made it to the Europa League quarterfinals last season before falling to Napoli (6-3 aggregate). There have been no prior meeting for this German side with any Belgium opponents.
Since the 2-1 victory over Zenit on match day 6 this Gent squad have won 7 of 8 matches while dropping 1. They’ll play a final domestic match 5 days prior to hosting Wolfsburg in Leg 1. Wolfsburgs form after the match day 6 victory over Man United has been somewhat spotty, they drew at home before dropping a road match prior to the Bundesliga winter break. They picked up 3 victories in friendlies after the break but again lost and drew in the first two Bundesliga matches of 2016 and will play 2 more with the last being 4 days prior to Leg 1.
Odds: To Advance — Gent +255 Wolfsburg -296
Odds: Leg 1 Gent +233 Draw +250 Wolfsburg +130
Arguable Wolfsburg had the tougher route to this round of 16 with opponents such as Manchester United and a PSV squad that have played exceptional soccer and lead their domestic league. Gent in the opinion of this corner were the best of bad lot as Valencia and Lyon have looked out of sorts during their domestic league campaigns. The opinion here is this Wolfsburg squad which plays at a high level in a much better domestic league (Bundesliga) than that of Gent (Jupiler) will wear down their opponents over the course of these two legs and will advance to the quarter finals. I’ll expect Wolfsburg to leave Belgium with a favorable result as well.
Wolfsburg to Advance at -296 and to win Leg 1 +130.