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Gent and Wolfsburg seek first-time success

Both Gent and Wolfsburg are into unchartered territory with an appearance in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds and the first leg is also the Germans' first visit to Belgium.

Background: Gent v Wolfsburg ©Getty Images

Having created history with their first Belgian title and debut appearance in the UEFA Champions League, KAA Gent now seek to continue the fairy tale by overcoming fellow knockout debutants VfL Wolfsburg.

Match background

Gent
• In the group stage for the first time, at home they first drew 1-1 with Olympique Lyonnais, then beat Valencia CF 1-0 and Group H winners FC Zenit 2-1 on matchday six, the only time the Russian champions dropped points in the section.

• That victory – Gent's third in succession, the first time a Belgian side have managed that feat since RSC Anderlecht in 2000/01 – enabled Hein Vanhaezebrouck's team to finish second in Group H on ten points, five behind Zenit.

• They have faced German opponents on only two previous occasions, and won both ties despite failing to record a home victory. Gent drew 0-0 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1991/92 UEFA Cup second round first leg and went through thanks to a 1-0 away win.

• In the 2001 Intertoto Cup third round the Buffalos lost 1-0 at home to SV Werder Bremen in the second leg having won 3-2 away. It finished 3-3 on aggregate with the Belgian side going through on away goals.

Wolfsburg
• In their second UEFA Champions League campaign, Wolfsburg won Group B with 12 points, two ahead of PSV Eindhoven.

• On their travels they lost 2-1 at Manchester United FC and 2-0 at PSV but triumphed 2-0 at PFC CSKA Moskva on matchday five. They progressed thanks to a 3-2 home win against United on matchday six.

• The Bundesliga runners-up reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League last season, their run ending in a 6-3 aggregate defeat by SSC Napoli (1-4 home, 2-2 away).

• Dieter Hecking's men beat Sporting in the round of 32 (2-0 home, 0-0 away) and FC Internazionale Milano (3-1 home, 2-1 away) in the round of 16.

• This is the first time they have faced Belgian opponents in Europe.

Coach and player links 
• Stefan Mitrović (SC Freiburg, 2014/15) and Kenny Saief (TSV 1860 München (youth), 2010/11) have both had spells in Germany.

• Wolfsburg's Felipe (RSC Anderlecht, 2006/07) and Koen Casteels (KRC Genk, 2002–11) have played in Belgium.

• With R. Charleroi SC and R. Standard de Liège, Dante faced Gent on six occasions, scoring in Standard's 2-1 win on 21 December 2008. His record reads W1 D3 L2.

• Sven Kums, Brian Vandenbussche and Bas Dost were team-mates at sc Heerenveen in 2011/12.

• International team-mates:
Koen Casteels and Matz Sels, Thomas Foket, Hannes van der Bruggen (Belgium Under-21s);
Lasse Nielsen and Nicklas Bendtner (Denmark);
Danijel Milicevic and Diego Benaglio and Francisco Rodríguez (Switzerland Under-21s).

• Ismail Azzaoui was born in Brussels and has Belgian citizenship.

Match facts

Gent
• Nana Asare, Laurent Depoitre, Thomas Foket and Kenneth Saief are a booking away from a ban.

• Gent have lost three of their 11 games since matchday six, two of those defeats coming away to title rivals Club Brugge KV and the other at KV Mechelen.

• Vanhaezebrouck's men went down 1-0 in Bruges twice in five days at the beginning of February. The first of those reverses was in the second leg of their Belgian Cup semi-final, a scoreline that resulted in their elimination on away goals.

• Since mid-January, Sels, Asare, Moses Simon, Milicevic and Kums have extended their contracts until the summer of 2019.

• On 13 January, Kums was crowned Belgian player of the year for 2015.

• At the same ceremony, Sels was elected goalkeeper of the year and Vanhaezebrouck coach of the year, while Nicklas Pedersen was acclaimed for scoring the best goal.

• Mbark Boussoufa, who spent the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons at the club, rejoined Gent on loan from FC Lokomotiv Moskva last month but was not added to their UEFA Champions League squad.

• Debutant Boussoufa, on as a 27th-minute substitute for the injured Simon, opened the scoring in the 2-0 triumph over R. Mouscron-Péruwelz on Friday.

UEFA Champions League squad changes
• In: Gustav Wikheim (Strømsgodset IF), Lucas Deaux (FC Nantes), Rami Gershon
• Out: Benito Raman (K. Sint-Truidense VV, loan), Erik Johansson (FC København), Nicklas Pedersen (KV Oostende), Marko Poletanović, Uroš Vitas

Wolfsburg
• Naldo is banned for the first leg after receiving his third booking in this season's competition on matchday six. Daniel Caligiuri is a caution away from a suspension.

• The 2-0 home victory over FC Ingolstadt on Saturday was Wolfsburg's first win in six and ended a seven-game winless run in the Bundesliga.

• Hecking's side have conceded three goals in each of their last three away fixtures.

• Robin Knoche (out since 18 September, ankle) made his first senior appearance of the season on 6 February, playing the entirety of the 3-0 reverse at FC Schalke 04. He doubled the lead against Ingolstadt, his first goal since 30 November 2014.

• On 12 January, Dost fractured a metatarsal in his left foot during Wolfsburg's winter training camp in Portugal. Carlos Ascues sustained a meniscus injury a few days later and was ruled out for the "foreseeable future".

• Josuha Guilavogui hurt his hip against Schalke and was subsequently ruled out for around ten days. André Schürrle missed the game in Gelsenkirchen due to adductor problems but returned at the weekend as a second-half substitute.

UEFA Champions League squad changes
• In: Ismail Azzaoui, Jannes Horn, Bruno Henrique (Goias EC), Leandro Putaro, Robin Ziegele
• Out: Timm Klose (Norwich City FC), Francisco Rodríguez (DSC Arminia Bielefeld, loan)