De Bruyne expects stern Everton challenge

Wolfsburg attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is anticipating a difficult challenge when they face Everton in the UEFA Europa League.

The Bundesliga side visit Goodison Park on Thursday aiming to get their campaign in Europe's secondary club competition off to a winning start.

With both sides having finished fifth in their respective divisions last season, a competitive encounter is to be expected between two teams well fancied to go deep into the tournament.

And De Bruyne, who joined Wolfsburg from Everton's Premier League rivals Chelsea in January, is under no illusions about the quality of their Group H opponents.

"To play Everton at their own stadium is very difficult," De Bruyne said.

"A lot of top teams lose in that stadium, maybe it's different as I also saw some English teams do a little bit worse. 

"They play nice football and have a good coach in [Roberto] Martinez and I think they have a very good team. 

"In the last five or six years they have always been in the top six so I think they are a very good side."

Striker Nicklas Bendtner will also be familiar with Everton having spent nine years with Arsenal and, after finally ending his association with the London club, the Dane is keen to help Wolfsburg succeed both domestically and on the European stage, highlighting qualification for the Champions League as his goal.

"I hope we can build on now playing in the Europa League and try and see if we can reach the Champions League stages this season," Bendtner said.

"We want to of course win our matches and get as high up the league as possible. 

"For me personally, I come from a fresh start from Arsenal and I felt this was the right place for me to play and I think I can score goals here."