With only two wins from four league matches so far, and a dispiriting 2-0 Champions League loss at Paris St-Germain on Tuesday, last season's Bundesliga runners-up are in danger of being left behind both at home and in Europe.
Coach Edin Terzic said his players had not been brave enough against PSG.
"You can say it politely and say we showed too much respect, or you can simply say we lacked courage," he added.
From losing possession to a complete lack of pressure and some very weak defending, Dortmund's game against PSG was indicative of their season so far.
They spectacularly squandered a two-goal lead at home against promoted Heidenheim to draw 2-2, leaving fans wondering whether players are still feeling the effects of last season's dramatic finale.
Dortmund missed out on their first Bundesliga title in 11 years when they slipped up with a home draw against Mainz 05 in the last game of the campaign.
They will need to pluck up as much courage as they can muster against Wolfsburg, winners of three of their four Bundesliga matches, if they are to avert a crisis with the season only a few weeks old.
Dortmund have their 17-match unbeaten run at home in their favour and have gone 10 home games without defeat in the Bundesliga against the Wolves.
Wolfsburg, however, have hit the ground running with their second-best start to a league season thanks largely to Jonas Wind, the first player in the club's history to have scored five goals in the first four league games.
Xabi Alonso's Leverkusen host Heidenheim while third-placed RB Leipzig travel to Borussia Moenchengladbach.