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
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
|1||FC Bayern Munich||12||10||1||1||33:5||+28||31||CL*|
|2||FC Schalke 04||12||7||2||3||22:14||+8||23||CL*|
|4||Borussia Dortmund||12||6||4||2||26:13||+13||22||CL* Qual.|
|5||Bayer 04 Leverkusen||12||6||3||3||21:17||+4||21||EL* Qual.|
|6||Hannover 96||12||5||2||5||25:20||+5||17||EL* Qual.|
|7||SV Werder Bremen||12||5||2||5||20:18||+2||17|
|8||1. FSV Mainz 05||12||5||2||5||15:14||+1||17|
|15||1. FC Nuremberg||12||3||3||6||10:18||-8||12|
Table thanks to official Bundesliga website