VfL Wolfsburg

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VfL Wolfsburg
Full name Verein für Leibesübungen Wolfsburg e. V. (Sports club)
Verein für Leibesübungen Wolfsburg Fußball GmbH (Professional football club)
Nickname(s) Die Wölfe (The Wolves)
Founded 12 September 1945; 73 years ago (1945-09-12)
Ground Volkswagen Arena
Ground Capacity 30,000
Owner Volkswagen (of GmbH)
Executive Director Francisco Javier García Sanz
Head Coach Dieter Hecking
League Bundesliga
2014–15 2nd
Website Club home page
Current season

Verein für Leibesübungen Wolfsburg e. V., commonly known as VfL Wolfsburg (pronounced [faʊ̯ ʔɛf ʔɛl ˈvɔlfsbʊʁk]) or Wolfsburg, is a German sports club based in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony. The club grew out of a multi-sports club for Volkswagen workers in the city of Wolfsburg. It is best known for its football department, but other departments include badminton, handball and athletics.

The men's professional football team play in the Bundesliga, the top tier of the German football league system. Wolfsburg have won the Bundesliga once in their history, in the 2008–09 season, the DFB-Pokal in 2015 and the DFL-Supercup in 2015.

Professional football is run by the spin-off organization VfL Wolfsburg-Fußball GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.[1][2] Since 2002, Wolfsburg's stadium is the Volkswagen Arena.


A new team in a new city

The city of Wolfsburg was founded in 1938 as Stadt des KdF-Wagen to house autoworkers building the car that would later become famous as the Volkswagen Beetle. The first football club affiliated with the autoworks was known as BSG Volkswagenwerk Stadt des KdF-Wagen, a works team. This team played in the first division Gauliga Osthannover in the 1943–44 and 1944–45 seasons.

On 12 September 1945, in the aftermath of World War II, a new club was formed and was known briefly as VSK Wolfsburg. This side began play in the green and white still worn by VfL today; local youth trainer Bernd Elberskirch had ten green jerseys at his disposal and white bed sheets donated by the public were sewn together by local women to make shorts.

On 15 December 1945, the club went through a crisis that almost ended its existence when all but one of its players left to join 1. FC Wolfsburg. The only player remaining, Josef Meyer, worked with Willi Hilbert to rebuild the side by signing new players. The new group adopted the moniker VfL Wolfsburg, VfL standing for Verein für Leibesübungen. This can be translated as "club for gymnastics" or "club for exercises." Within a year they captured the local Gifhorn title. In late November 1946, the club played a friendly against longtime Gelsenkirchen powerhouse Schalke 04 at the stadium owned by Volkswagen, emerging as the successor to BSG as the company sponsored side.

Postwar play

The club made slow but steady progress in the following seasons. They captured a number of amateur level championships, but were unable to advance out of the promotion playoffs until finally breaking through to the top tier Oberliga Nord in 1954 with a 2–1 victory over Heider SV. Wolfsburg, however, struggled in the top flight, narrowly missing relegation each season until finally being sent down in 1959. When Germany's first professional football league, the Bundesliga, was formed in 1963, Wolfsburg was playing in the Regionalliga Nord (II) having just moved up from the Verbandsliga Niedersachsen (III), reaching the German Amateur Championship Final that same year (0–1 vs. VfB Stuttgart Amat.).

Second division and advance to the Bundesliga

File:Vfl Wolfsburg old.png
Historical logo of VfL Wolfsburg in use until 2002.

Wolfsburg remained a second division fixture over the next dozen years with their best performance being a second-place finish in 1970. That finish earned the club entry to the promotion round playoffs for the Bundesliga, where they performed poorly and were unable to advance. From the mid-1970s through to the early 1990s, Die Wölfe played as a third division side in the Amateur Oberliga Nord. Consecutive first-place finishes in 1991 and 1992, followed by success in the promotion playoffs, saw the club advance to the 2. Bundesliga for the 1992–93 season.

Wolfsburg continued to enjoy some success through the 1990s. The team advanced to the final of the German Cup in 1995 where they were beaten 0–3 by Borussia Mönchengladbach, but then went on to the top flight on the strength of a second-place league finish in 1997.

Early predictions were that the club would immediately be sent back down, but instead, the Wolves developed into a mid-table Bundesliga side. In the 1998–99 season, Wolfsburg, under Wolfgang Wolf, were holding onto the fifth spot in the 33rd round of fixtures, and they had hopes of making fourth place, to gain UEFA Champions League participation. Losing 6–1 away to MSV Duisburg in the final fixture, the Wolves finished in sixth place with 55 points and qualified for next season's UEFA Cup. They also qualified for the Intertoto Cup in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005, enjoying their best run in 2003 after reaching the final in which they lost to Italian side Perugia. This was followed by a couple of seasons of little success for the club, just narrowly avoiding relegation with two 15th-place finishes in the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons.


Wolfsburg against Borussia Dortmund at the Volkswagen Arena in May 2009.

For the 2007–08 season, the club hired former Bayern Munich manager Felix Magath, with whom they managed to finish in fifth place at the end of the season, the highest finish for the club at the time. This also enabled the Wolves to qualify for the UEFA Cup for only the second time in their history.

In the 2008–09 season, under Magath, Wolfsburg claimed their biggest success by winning their first Bundesliga title after defeating Werder Bremen 5–1 on 23 May 2009. During this campaign, Wolfsburg equalled the longest winning streak in one Bundesliga season with ten successive victories after the winter break. They also became the only team in the Bundesliga to have had two strikers scoring more than 20 goals each in one season, with Brazilian Grafite and Bosnian Edin Džeko achieving this feat in their title-winning season, scoring 28 and 26, respectively. As a result of their title win, Wolfsburg qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history.

In the 2009–10 season, Wolfsburg dismissed their newly-appointed trainer Armin Veh after the winter break due to lack of success, with the club sitting tenth in the league. In the Champions League, they came third in their group, behind Manchester United and CSKA Moscow, losing the chance for a place in the competition's successive round. As a result, they qualified for the Round of 32 phase of the UEFA Europa League. They defeated Spanish side Villarreal CF 6–3 on aggregate and Russian champions Rubin Kazan 3–2. In the quarter-finals, however, they were beaten 3–1 by eventual finalists Fulham.

On 11 May 2010, the permanent head coach's position was filled by former England manager Steve McClaren. After having guided FC Twente to their first ever Dutch title, he was rewarded by becoming the first English coach to be given the chance to manage a Bundesliga side. On 7 February 2011, however, it was announced that McClaren had been sacked and that Pierre Littbarski would be taking over.[3] Wolfsburg, lost for the fourth time in five matches under him and they finally slipped into the relegation places.

On 18 March 2011, Wolfsburg confirmed that Felix Magath would return as head coach and sporting director, almost two years since he led them to the Bundesliga title and just two days after being fired from his position at Schalke 04. He signed a two-year contract with the club.[4] Magath steered the club to safety, but though the club invested heavily, Magath could only achieve a mid-table finish in the following 2011–12 season. After only five points in eight matches (and no goals and points in the last four games) in the 2012–13 season, Magath left the club by mutual consent and was temporarily replaced by former Wolfsburg reverse team coach Lorenz-Günther Köstner. On 22 December 2012, former 1. FC Nürnberg head coach Dieter Hecking was appointed as Wolfsburg's new head coach on a contract lasting until 2016.

On 2 February 2015, Wolfsburg purchased forward German international, André Schürrle for a fee of €30 million from Chelsea, at the time the most expensive transfer for the club. Schürrle was unhappy with his stint at Chelsea and asked to be transferred to another team.[5] With a reinforced squad, the club finished as runners-up in the 2014–15 Bundesliga—behind Bayern Munich—thus automatically qualifying for the 2015–16 Champions League group stage. On 30 May, the team then won 2015 DFB-Pokal Final over Borussia Dortmund, the first German Cup victory in the history of the club.

On 1 August, to begin Wolfsburg's 2015–16 competitive season, the team defeated Bundesliga champions Bayern in the 2015 DFL-Supercup on penalties. A major accomplishment by the club due to its lack of trophies throughout history. At the end of the 2015 summer transfer window, Wolfsburg sold 2014–15 German Footballer of the Year, Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City for a reported Bundesliga record departure fee of €75 million.

The 2015–16 campaign has Wolfsburg currently in third place behind Borussia Dortmund and the leaders Bayern Munich. The Bundesliga match between Bayern and Wolfsburg saw an extraordinary five goals in nine minutes from forward Robert Lewandowski.[6] It was a record breaking day by Lewandowski against the Wolfsburg side who has been competitive all season thus far.


Wolfsburg plays at the Volkswagen Arena, a multi-purpose stadium which seats a total capacity of 30,000 spectators. Before construction was finished in 2002, Wolfsburg played their home games at the 20,500 capacity VfL-Stadium, where the amateur squad still plays. The stadium is currently used mostly for the home games of Wolfsburg, and is the site where they won their first Bundesliga title in the 2008–09 season.




  • Oberliga Nord (III):
    • Winners (2): 1991, 1992
    • Runners-up (3): 1976, 1978, 1988



First team squad

As of 15 November 2015[7]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Switzerland GK Diego Benaglio (captain)
3 Denmark FW Nicklas Bendtner
4 Germany DF Marcel Schäfer
5 Switzerland DF Timm Klose
6 Peru DF Carlos Ascues
7 Italy MF Daniel Caligiuri
8 Portugal MF Vieirinha
10 Germany MF Julian Draxler
11 Germany FW Max Kruse
12 Netherlands FW Bas Dost
15 Germany DF Christian Träsch
17 Germany MF André Schürrle
18 Brazil DF Dante
20 Germany GK Max Grün
22 Brazil MF Luiz Gustavo
No. Position Player
23 France MF Josuha Guilavogui (on loan from Atlético Madrid)
24 Germany DF Sebastian Jung
25 Brazil DF Naldo
26 Brazil DF Felipe
27 Germany MF Maximilian Arnold
28 Belgium GK Koen Casteels
30 Germany MF Paul Seguin
31 Germany DF Robin Knoche
32 Poland FW Oscar Zawada
33 Germany FW Sebastian Stolze
34 Switzerland DF Ricardo Rodríguez
35 Switzerland MF Francisco Rodríguez
37 Germany DF Moritz Sprenger
38 Belgium MF Ismail Azzaoui

For recent transfers, see Transfers summer 2015 and Transfers winter 2014–15.

VfL Wolfsburg II squad

As of 31 July 2015[8]
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Germany GK Alexander Brunst
21 Germany GK Niklas Klinger
26 Switzerland GK Milan Anicic

2 Germany DF Marvin Kleihs
3 Germany DF Noah Korczowski
4 Germany DF Julian Klamt
13 Germany DF Maximilian Rossmann
14 Germany DF Nicolas Abdat
15 Germany DF Robert Schick
16 Germany DF Jasin Ghandour
24 Germany DF Hendrik Hansen
30 Germany DF Jannis Pläschke

No. Position Player
7 Germany MF Robert Hermann
8 Germany MF Bastian Schulz
9 Austria MF Dino Medjedovic
11 Cuba MF Onel Hernandez
17 Lebanon MF Hilal El-Helwe
18 Germany MF Danilo Dittrich
23 Germany MF Lucas-Simon Lohmann
25 Germany MF Junior Ebot-Etchi
27 Germany MF David Chamorro
28 Austria MF Sebastian Wimmer

19 Poland FW Oskar Zawada
29 Hungary FW Gergely Bobál

Manager: France Valérien Ismaël

Women's section

The women have won a treble of German League, Cup and the UEFA Women's Champions League in 2012–13. They defended their Champions League title in 2014.

Coaching staff

As of 27 February 2015[9]

Head coach Dieter Hecking
Position Name
Head coach Dieter Hecking
Assistant coach Dirk Bremser
Assistant coach Ton Lokhoff
Goalkeeping coach Andreas Hilfiker
Fitness coach Oliver Mutschler
Fitness coach Felix Sunkel

Record in Europe

UEFA club rankings

As of 19 August 2015[10]
Rank Team Coefficient
50 Romania Steaua București
52 Cyprus APOEL 33.810
53 Germany Wolfsburg 33.149
54 Spain Villarreal 32.857
55 England Liverpool 31.844
56 Greece P.A.O.K. 30.740
57 Spain Levante 29.857

Notable former players



  1. "Volkswagen Group Annual Report 2009". 23 May 2009. Retrieved 17 August 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "VfL Wolfsburg Club History". Retrieved 17 August 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Bundesliga – Wolfsburg sack McClaren". Yahoo! Sport. 7 February 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Magath back with the Wolves". Bundesliga official website. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Andre Schurrle is set to leave Chelsea for £30m, but who else have the Blues cashed in big on over the past few years?". 19 January 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. McKirdy, Euan (23 September 2015). "Robert Lewandowski: Bayern star's five-goal haul shatters records". CNN. Retrieved 29 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Players and Staff". VfL Wolfsburg. Retrieved 15 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. VfL Wolfsburg II Kader
  9. "Coaching staff" (in German). VfL Wolfsburg. Retrieved 27 February 2015. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. [1]

External links