FC Augsburg vs WolfsburgGerman Bundesliga, KO: 14:30 May 16, 2020, Augsburg Arena
WOLFSBURG have spared no expense in the build-up to their big Bundesliga comeback, holing the squad up in the swanky Ritz-Carlton hotel, where rooms reportedly cost around £460 a night.
But will their pampered players be ready for a scrap with lowly Augsburg and earn the right to raid the mini bar after keeping their Europa League ambitions alive?
In stark contrast to the Wolfsburg squad, Augsburg have been stuck in Germany's equivalent of a Premier Inn, staying in rooms that cost just £60 a night.
That's the lowest outlay of any Bundesliga club but they might not be in the top flight much longer unless they can hit the ground running when action gets back underway.
And their preparations for the first game back were thrown into disarray when manager Heiko Herrlich was caught breaking quarantine, ruling him out of a place in the dugout.
Herrlich was rumbled after leaving the team hotel to buy toothpaste, something his club could probably have avoided by coughing up a few more quid for swankier place to stay.
Augusburg sat just five points clear of the relegation play-off place when the season was halted so they need to get back up to speed quickly to avoid being dragged into a dogfight.
They were on a five-game run without a win before lockdown, losing four, so the long break probably came at a good time as it allowed them to reset and rebuild morale.
Wolfsburg had lost just once in seven games before the shutters came down so Oliver Glasner's side will be keen to pick up where they left off as they sit just a point behind sixth-placed Schalke in the race for a Euro slot.
How the bookies view it
I'm surprised to see Wolfsburg as big as 13/10 with Unibet for this one, given the form both sides were in before lockdown. An Augsburg victory is a best 45/19 with VBet while the stalemate is 12/5 at SportNation. With home advantage out of the equation in an empty stadium, I doubt Augsburg will be able to keep the Wolf from the door.
Recent head to head
It ended in a dreary stalemate when these sides faced off earlier in the season but there were goals galore in the fixture last season. Wolfsburg romped to an incredible 8-1 victory at home (below) then claimed a thrilling 3-2 win in Augsburg thanks to a last-minute goal from Yannick Gerhardt.
Augsburg's last victory in this fixture was a 2-1 home triumph back in November 2017, with Wolfsburg down to 10 men for most of the match.
Players to watch
Wolfsburg striker Wout Weghorst netted a hat-trick in that epic 8-1 victory last term and has continued to show an eye for goal this term. But he will sit out the first game back due to suspension which is a big blow.
In his absence, I'm going for Josip Brekalo in the anytime scorer market as the Croatian netted three times in the last six games before lockdown. He's 16/5 with SportNation for a goal and that looks tempting.
Florian Niederlechner has been the biggest Augsburg threat all season, his tally of 11 goals pretty impressive in a team that has been struggling. The German is 12/5 with Paddy Power for anytime scorer and that looks quite tempting.
Anything else catch the eye?
I've tipped Cologne to grab a few goals against struggling Mainz on the first weekend back and I can see a repeat here as Wolfsburg should have too much firepower for Augsburg.
Herrlich's side have conceded two goals or more in four of their last five games so try backing Wolfsburg to net over 1.5 goals at 11/10 with Bet365.
Augsburg: Koubek – Framberger, Gouweleeuw, Jedvaj, Max – Khedira, Baier (c) – Richter, Löwen, Vargas – Niederlechner
Doubtful: Finnbogason (knee), Giefer (foot), Schieber (calf)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich
Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) – Mbabu, Knoche, Brooks, Roussillon – Steffen, Schlager, Arnold – Mehmedi, Ginczek, Brekalo
Out: Camacho (ankle), Gerhardt (head injury), Guilavogui (knee), Weghorst (suspended), William (knee)
Coach: Oliver Glasner
This German Bundesliga match between FC Augsburg and Wolfsburg will be played on May 16, 2020 and kick off at 14:30. Check below for our tipsters best FC Augsburg vs Wolfsburg prediction.