Felix MagathAi??is known worldwide for his hard, grinding training methods, laying heavy emphasis on discipline, fitness and conditioning. Besides that, he has managed to win the BundesligaAi??Championship three times, twice with Bayern Munich and once with VFLAi??Wolfsburg in the 2008-09 season. Before the end of 2008-09 season, he agreed on four-year contract with FC Schalke as both head coach and Director of Football, starting on 1 July 2009.

His spell with FC SchalkeAi??began very well as he managed to guide FC SchalkeAi??to the Champions League knock-out stages for only the second time, finishing 2nd in the Bundesliga. His fall from grace came in the following season(2009-10), in whichAi??his team finished in an embarrassing 14th position, despite signing the evergreen Real Madrid star Raul. FC SchalkeAi??had no other option but to sack the 59-year-old back then.

Felix Magath managerial methods

Just two days after being fired from his positionAi??at FC Schalke, such was the dignity and affection the VFLAi??Wolfsburg board had towards him, that they wanted him back. Thus, he signed a two-year contract with the club and he was back at the club where he last won the Bundesliga Championship as a manager.

His second spell at Wolfsburg started on a bad note as they lost three out of their four matches and were in a baffling 15th positionAi??in the table. Poor results followed and the club was in a bit of turmoil. The 59-year-old hard man from Germany had then imposed a code of conduct for his players on and off the pitch, which came under heavy criticism.

According to the new regulations, any player late for team meetings and training sessions were finedAi??ai??i??100 per minute, and any player found using headphones while on the team bus will be dockedAi??ai??i??250. For violations on the pitch, the fines became more rigorous ai??i?? an unnecessary back-pass would result in a fine of ai??i??1,000. The defenders had also been warned for letting the ball bounce in front of them, rather than clearing it directly would result in a penalty of ai??i??500.

In a particular incident, promising German striker Patrick HelmesAi??was penalizedAi??a whopping ai??i??10,000 for underperforming against Freiburg. Though it sounds ridiculously insane and annoyingly harsh, the players couldnai??i??t help but follow the strict indiscernibleAi??routine. And it worked well as VFLAi??Wolfsburg managed to finish in a decent 8th positionAi??in Bundesliga.

New Signings at VFL Wolfsburg

The potential is certainly there in Magathai??i??s squad, as most of the matches from last season showed, but the problem isnai??i??t about money. Magath should tone down his domination by dialing down the strict mannerisms. Discipline and motivation is one thing, but having a set of players live in a climate of fear is something else entirely.

Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg

The new season is around and VFLAi??Wolfsburg have already secured the signings of the solid Centre-backs Pogatetz(from Hannover SV) and Naldo(from WerderAi??Bremen), which would certainly add to the defensive soul of the team. NaldoAi??in particular, has been one of the most consistent defenders in the BundesligaAi??making 167 appearances for WerderAi??Bremen and scoring in 20 goals, which is quite impressive for a Brazilian centre back. The immense experience of the 29-year-oldAi??would certainly strengthen the backlineAi??of the team. Pogatetz, who was equally instrumental in Hannoverai??i??s fine progress in the Europa League has been given the number 5 shirt at VFL Wolfsburg.

Having being absent from the football field for 15 months due to a knee injury in 2011-12, Naldo was pretty impressive on his return with a 6.96 rating from whoscored.com.

Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg Wolfsburg

VA?clavAi??PilaAi??, the tiny winger from Czech Republic had agreed on joining the German side before featuring in the EURO 2012 in whichAi??he scored two important goals for his country. The diminutive winger could add lethalnessAi??to the side with the help of his bombing runs on the left flank. VFLAi??Wolfsburg has also signed Fagner, a 23-year-oldAi??Brazilian right back, from Brazilian side VascoAi??Da Gama. He was a member of the Brazilian Under-20 team on South American Youth Championship in 2007, which Brazil went on to win. He would obviously give tough competition to HasebeAi??for the RB position, although HasebeAi??can also play in the defensive midfield position.

Despite losing their top scorer for the last season to Bayern Munich, people might think that theyai??i??ve done a great job of signing the promising 23-year-oldAi??Dutch striker Bas Dost as replacement. Following his phenomenal season at the EridivisieAi??side HeerenveenAi??where he managed to score 45 goals in 66 appearances, on 1st of July, 2012, VFL Wolfsburg officially confirmed that Bas Dost would join the club.

Also, Patrick Helmes, who joined the club in the 2011 January transfer window, also impressed with 12 goals and 2 assists in 14 appearances. He would be a safe bet to start in the first team alongsideAi??Bas Dost. The Swiss keeper, 6 feet & 4 inches tall, Diego Benaglio, will be the first choice goal keeper. AshkanAi??Dejagah, one of the stars for Wolfsburg, for the last season, would be keeping his place in the side, probably starting on the right-wing. AdelinoAi??AndrAi?? VieiraAi??Freitas, commonly known as Vieirinha would be hoping to compete for the same place.

Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg

Pgatetz and Naldo – leading Wolfsburg this season

Wolfsburg

The 32 year oldAi??veteran striker IvicaAi??OliAi??Ai??has also joined the club after he disappointingly missed the Euro due to injury in a friendly match against Norway. Diego could as well return to the club after winning the Europa League with AtleticoAi??Madrid where he was on a season long loan. Despite previous unpleasant associations with Felix Magath, the VFLAi??Wolfsburg supporters would be hoping that the two get along well this time and work out on a team hungry and mature enough to win the Bundesliga Championship.

How Diego will link up with the two strikers up front, probably Bas Dost & Patrick Helmes, will be crucial. The creative Brazilian midfielder has always been special on his day, but has a reputation of going missing when the team needed him the most. The full backs can also look to move forward and put in crosses for the two strikers in the box.

With enough firepower up front, opulent experience at the back, confident midfielders and fluent wingers on the flanks, VFLAi??Wolfsburg can certainly claim that they have the potential to challenge top sides like recent Champions BorussiaAi??Dortmund and the most successful club in Germany, Bayern Munich. In last six years, four different teams have won the Bundesliga title, which goes to show the varied nature of the league.

Wolfsburg begins their campaign with a trip to Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion where they face Vfb Stuttgart on 26th August. Their first home fixture at the Volkswagen Arena is against Hannover 96. On 25th September, theyai??i??d face Bayern Munich, which would be their first real test of the season.

Could this be the season where they seriously push for the BundesligaAi??title? Could the new players integrate into the unorthodox MagathAi??system well enough? Can the QuAi??lix work his magic again and can Bas Dost live up to the growing hype? Only time will tell.

~ Adil Khan

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4 Responses to “VFL Wolfsburg Corner : Can Felix Magath Capture Bundesliga Title?”

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  1. Sid says:

    Good Article. But i would say its a bit too early for ” The Wolfs” to mount a title challenge. Maybe next season. Their championship winning squad had players who had played with each other for a year or two. They of course had the Dzeko-Graphite combo up front and Misimović, Gentner, Josue formed an excellent understanding in midfield.
    True Wolfsburg have shored up their defense with Naldo and Pogatetz but i still feel their midfield doesn’t have the same teeth compared to the 2008-2009 campaign.

  2. Julian says:

    I agree, Wolfs will struggle to mount a serious challenge but do need to consolidate with a top 6 finish. Diego will be crucial but I cannot see the relationship working with Magath given their past problems. Patrick Helmes going down for the year will not help either.

  3. Adil Khan says:

    Thanks for the comments guys. I know the article is a bit over-optimistic, but who thought that Wolfsburg would win the bundesliga 2008-09 campaign?! Anything can happen. They just need to click together. I wrote the article before the news of Helmes’ injury reached me. Expect them to get another quality striker, for sure. Watch out for Bas Dost. Think he’ll have a good season.