Wolfsburg are set to be without influential midfielder Luiz Gustavo for the Champions League visit of Manchester United as the Brazil international continues to be hindered by a knee problem. The 28-year-old has missed his side's last three matches and will be assessed just hours before the game at the Volkswagen Arena before a decision is made over his role.
Gustavo underwent knee surgery in the summer and though he has featured in nine of the club's Bundesliga fixtures this term and three of their European group games, he has been out since November with a recurrence of the problem. The player missed the Copa America in the summer to undergo the procedure and his continued absence is a concern for Wolfsburg.
"We will make a decision following the final pre-match training session as to whether he is fit to play," said manager Dieter Hecking, who has an otherwise fully-fit squad to choose from for the crunch final group game, according to the club's official website. Gustavo later told Kicker: "It won't be enough to make the starting XI. The coach has to decide whether I'll be part of the squad."
Last season's German Cup winners start the final round of group matches with a one point advantage over second placed Manchester United, with both sides set for a straight shoot-out for one of two berths in the last 16. Louis van Gaal's side must win to guarantee progress to the knock-out phase, with anything less leaving them exposed to a premature exit.
With PSV Eindhoven expected to beat CSKA Moscow in their final game, the match in Germany is likely to determine who will join the Dutch champions in the draw for the knock-out phase. United travel off the back of three straight draws in which they have scored just once but Hecking is wary of their high-profile opponents.
"I want to win and my players want that too," he told a pre-match press conference. "Naturally Manchester United have very strong individual players, whom we will have to be wary of. But our opponents will need to keep an eye on our players too."