After Felix Magath’s departure in October, it’s no coincidence that Wolfsburg have hit form since.

Popularity and respect are two important things for a coach to have. You don’t have to necessarily be popular but if you have the respect of the players, you’ve got a decent chance of succeeding. The problem for Felix Magath is that he had neither by the time he left Wolfsburg for a second time in October.

Then again, popularity is not something which Magath has been renowned for and that’s not surprising. After all, this is a guy who threatened to cancel Christmas for his squad last year. He’s also been known to send his players running in the woods and fined them for individual mistakes during games.

Most spectacularly, in his time at Stuttgart, he once had his players, during training, stand in a circle for 90 minutes in near freezing temperatures after a defeat the day before. This season, his antics have continued. Here’s Raphael Honigstein’s account of what he did to his players in September. (

“Magath had them running through the Wolfsburg woods (again) and when they had finished, they found that most of their water bottles had been emptied on purpose by the coach. Magath tried to justify this exercise in sadism as an “educational measure” afterwards – “I wanted them to learn to share resources as a team.””

Funnily enough, the players were not reacting to the coach’s “techniques” and after a 2-0 home defeat to Freiburg, the Wolfsburg hierarchy decided it was time for Magath to go. It’s no real surprise that since then the Wolves have improved markedly.

Interim coach Lorenz-Günther Köstner has been at the helm for the last four games but judging by the results, the players have just been happy to have someone who isn’t Felix Magath. Their third win in four games came on Sunday as they won away at Hoffenheim.

Seven minutes in, Makoto Hasebe headed the opener after some poor defending. Hoffenheim lost the ball just outside their own box soon after, allowing Bas Dost to double Wolfsburg’s lead. The home side did press but Diego Benaglio was relatively comfortable in any save he had to make. This was in part down to the surprisingly shot-shy Joselu. He blazed over from a matter of yards in the second half, epitomising his and Hoffenheim’s day in front of goal. With just over ten minutes to play, Naldo made it three for Wolfsburg with a well struck free kick before Eren Derdiyok scored a late consolation for the hosts.

Hoffenheim  were left with nothing after a master class in clinical finishing from the visitors – not bad for a team who netted just twice in their opening eight games.

The win on Sunday was made all the sweeter as new Sporting Director Klaus Allofs watched on for the first time since arriving from Werder Bremen during the week. He spent 13 years at the Weserstadion and Wolfsburg need that sort of stability after a destructive second reign of Felix Magath.

His first tenure at the club brought a maiden Bundesliga title but the results from this latest spell have tainted Magath’s legacy at Wolfsburg. Players such as Diego have openly welcomed his departure but like quite a few in Magath’s coaching career, he didn’t see eye-to-eye with him.

Diego is likely to help Wolfsburg climb further into a mid-table position this season but it’s hard to foresee another Bundesliga club appointing Felix Magath anytime soon.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga

  • The unthinkable happened this weekend – Bayern Munich didn’t just concede a goal away from home, they also failed to win. Nuremberg were the team to stop them as they claimed an unlikely point against the Bundesliga leaders. There was controversy too after Mario Mandzukic’s celebration prompted claims he was showing support to two Croatian generals who had convictions overturned on Friday.
  • Bayern’s stumble allowed the chasing pack to close the gap and Borussia Dortmund were only too happy to do so. Inspired by Mario Götze, they overcame Greuther Fürth and surprise package Eintracht Frankfurt were also victorious as Alexander Meier continued his rich vein of form. He scored two as the Eagles beat Augsburg. No such luck for Schalke who were lacklustre in a 2-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen – the highlight of that was André Schürrle’s stunning opener.
  • Meanwhile in mid table, Son-Heung Min ensured Hamburg beat Mainz. Freiburg continue to chug away quietly after they won at Hannover and Stuttgart recovered from their collapse last weekend to win at Gladbach. Werder Bremen were the weekend’s other victors, coming from behind to beat Fortuna Düsseldorf at the Weserstadion.
For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Matchday 12 Results:

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Fürth

Eintracht Frankfurt 4-2 Augsburg

Gladbach 1-2 Stuttgart

Hamburg 1-0 Mainz

Hannover 1-2 Freiburg

Nuremberg 1-1 Bayern Munich

Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Schalke

Werder Bremen 2-1 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Hoffenheim 1-3 Wolfsburg

Table:

RankClubMatchesW*D*L*G*GD*Pts.*
1FC Bayern Munich12101133:5+2831CL*
2FC Schalke 041272322:14+823CL*
3Eintracht Frankfurt1272325:18+723CL*
4Borussia Dortmund1264226:13+1322CL* Qual.
5Bayer 04 Leverkusen1263321:17+421EL* Qual.
6Hannover 961252525:20+517EL* Qual.
7SV Werder Bremen1252520:18+217
81. FSV Mainz 051252515:14+117
9Hamburger SV1252512:14-217
10SC Freiburg1244416:14+216
11Borussia Mönchengladbach1244418:23-516
12VfB Stuttgart1244414:20-616
13VfL Wolfsburg1242612:19-714
141899 Hoffenheim1233618:26-812
151. FC Nuremberg1233610:18-812
16Fortuna Düsseldorf1225511:18-711Play-offs
17Greuther Fürth1214710:23-137Relegation
18FC Augsburg121388:22-146Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

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