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Lorenz-Günther Kostner said his dream headline for the report on his side's UEFA Europa League round of 16 decider against FC Rubin Kazan would be "VfL Wolfsburg and their fantastic fans go through to the quarter-finals" as they look to build on a 1-1 away draw.
Zvezdjan Misimović's 67th-minute equaliser in difficult conditions in Tatarstan last Thursday has left the German champions marginally on top as they bid to eliminate their Russian counterparts. Kostner knows the second leg will be anything but a formality, though. "Kazan will play very tight and look to make space," he said. "If we defend well, we will earn the right to attack; that's old football wisdom, but it still rings true."
Already enjoying their most successful European campaign, Wolfsburg hope to prolong the good times. "We can achieve the biggest international success in our club's history," added Kostner, whose side claimed their fifth win in six outings on Saturday, beating VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-0. "Kazan are very strong and we need the crowd to get behind us."
Wolfsburg's injury concerns are easing, though goalkeeper Diego Benaglio (knee) is unlikely to play, nor Grafite and winter signings Réver and Andrea Barzagli. Sascha Riether wants to make sure they all have the opportunity to play in the last eight, the defender noting: "Our motivation is huge. We can reach the quarter-finals of a major competition, something this club has never done before."
The same is true of Rubin, though the absence of captain Sergei Semak (groin) is a major blow for Kurban Berdyev's side. A 2-0 win against FC Lokomotiv Moskva in their opening 2010 Russian Premier League game has left them optimistic, though midfielder Evgeni Balyaykin warned: "We have to be careful of [Zvjezdan] Misimović and Edin Džeko, who are very good players. Even if Grafite doesn't play, the others are dangerous enough."
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