Category Archives: Felix Magath

Bundesliga Review – Wolves howl with joy after Magath leaves by Archie Rhind-Tutt

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:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
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*
3 Eintracht Frankfurt 12 7 2 3 25:18 +7 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
9 Hamburger SV 12 5 2 5 12:14 -2 17
10 SC Freiburg 12 4 4 4 16:14 +2 16
11 Borussia Mönchengladbach 12 4 4 4 18:23 -5 16
12 VfB Stuttgart 12 4 4 4 14:20 -6 16
13 VfL Wolfsburg 12 4 2 6 12:19 -7 14
14 1899 Hoffenheim 12 3 3 6 18:26 -8 12
15 1. FC Nuremberg 12 3 3 6 10:18 -8 12
16 Fortuna Düsseldorf 12 2 5 5 11:18 -7 11 Play-offs
17 Greuther Fürth 12 1 4 7 10:23 -13 7 Relegation
18 FC Augsburg 12 1 3 8 8:22 -14 6 Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

Article originally written on Football Fan Cast

The Bundesliga Show Episode 77 – Dortmund’s Disaster Derby

Matt Hermann and Jon Hartley are back for another edition of The Bundesliga Show. This week on the agenda is Schalke’s success in the Revier Derby against Borussia Dortmund. Records were broken in Düsseldorf as Bayern notched up a best ever season start by bagging their 8th straight win of the campaign. And there were goals galore in Bremen.

All that and more. Enjoy the show!

Bundesliga Review – Derby excitement tempered by Pezzoni incident By Archie Rhind-Tutt

 

Derbies – they are part of what makes not just the Bundesliga but football in general great. It’s there where all of the passion is poured out onto the pitch by both fans and players. This weekend the Bundesliga had no less than four of them on show. Not all of them were necessarily local – Bayern Munich and Stuttgart for instance are 136 miles apart.

The pair nevertheless make up the Southern derby (not to be confused with Nuremberg v Fürth which is the South derby). With Borussia Dortmund drawing with Nuremberg on Saturday, it was a great opportunity for Bayern to take an early lead over the Champions. They did just that, but not before Stuttgart were made to realise that Bayern are like the Incredible Hulk – you wouldn’t like them when they’re angry.

The Swabians hit the bar early on and then took the lead through Martin Harnik’s superb volley on 25 minutes. By half time, Stuttgart were trailing by two after Müller, Kroos and most spectacularly Luiz Gustavo, gave the Bavarians the lead their fans expected. In the second half, it continued with Müller (again), Mandzukic and Schweinsteiger ensuring last year’s runners up were 6-1 up just six minutes after half time. That’s how it stayed but there was still time for Vedad Ibisevic to be sent off, completing a bad start in the Bundesliga for the Bosnian after last week’s horrible miss.

Perhaps not for the last time this season though, Bayern went to the top of the Bundesliga. Still, they weren’t the only side to enjoy a Sunday roast. For the Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) derby was more like the demolition derby as Hannover thumped Wolfsburg at the VW Arena.

This in itself was a surprise. After all, Hannover hadn’t won in Wolfsburg since 2006 and they weren’t great on the road last year, picking up just two away wins all season. The Wolves have also been tipped to do well this season and were expected to build on last weekend’s win at Stuttgart.

Still, Hannover are not a side to be underestimated, as they showed. Their star was Szabolcs Huszti. The Hungarian, who returned to the club after three years at Zenit St. Petersburg, set up all four goals for “The 96.” Karim Haggui and Artur Sobiech made it 2-0 before the break. In the second half, Leon Andreasen and Sobiech completed a fantastic day for Mirko Slomka’s men. Wolfsburg also had substitute Robin Knoche sent off in the second half and it was unsurprising when coach Felix Magath apologized to the fans after his side’s tame performance. After all, the Lower Saxony bragging rights were firmly with Hannover.

It wasn’t as clear cut in the Niederrhein (Lower Rhine) derby as Fortuna Düsseldorf and Borussia Mönchengladbach renewed rivalries in the Bundesliga for the first time in over 15 years. Yet neither was able to find a winner in a tight affair on Saturday evening. The match belied the ever entertaining nature of Fortuna Düsseldorf whilst for Gladbach, you can’t help but feel it was the sort of game they might have won, if they still had a certain Marco Reus. Still, the Foals look well set for the season, something which cannot be said of Hamburg.

HSV travelled to Werder Bremen in the Nordderby (North derby) but were outclassed for a second week running. With new signing Rafael van der Vaart watching on having returned from Spurs, Werder picked up from their encouraging performance at the Champions on the opening night of the season. Aaron Hunt had one penalty saved by René Adler, a definite positive for Hamburg in the new season. However, Adler was beaten by a second Hunt penalty in the second half and then by a Nils Petersen strike, ensuring that Werder and Hamburg were looking in different directions going into the international break. BILD even questioned after the result whether van der Vaart’s contract extends into the 2.Bundesliga – a cheeky and slightly premature jibe. Time is on their side but HSV’s start has been far from inspiring. Patience is thin on the ground with fans, as it is with many supporters these days.  Passion runs high which is what makes derby matches and indeed what made this weekend’s Bundesliga matches special.

However, we must be careful, especially after what happened to Kevin Pezzoni this week. Pezzoni was a player at another big club who have been going through hard times, that being Cologne who were relegated from the Bundesliga just a few months ago. He cancelled his contract this week after being threatened outside his home by a group of angry Cologne fans – an appalling development. So while fans displeasure at results is understandable, the Pezzoni incident certainly helped to put into context where football’s boundaries for passion lie.

For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Matchday 2 Results:

Mainz 0-1 Fürth

Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Freiburg

Hoffenheim 0-4 Eintracht Frankfurt

Nuremberg 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

Schalke 3-1 Augsburg

Werder Bremen 2-0 Hamburg

Fortuna Düsseldorf 0-0 Gladbach

Wolfsburg 0-4 Hannover

Bayern Munich 6-1 Stuttgart

Table

Position Club Games W* D* L* F:A GD* Points
1 FC Bayern Munich 2 2 0 0 9:1 +8 6 CL*
2 Eintracht Frankfurt 2 2 0 0 6:1 +5 6 CL*
3 Hannover 96 2 1 1 0 6:2 +4 4 CL*
4 FC Schalke 04 2 1 1 0 5:3 +2 4 CL* Qual.
5 Fortuna Düsseldorf 2 1 1 0 2:0 +2 4 EL* Qual.
6 Borussia Dortmund 2 1 1 0 3:2 +1 4 EL* Qual.
7 1. FC Nürnberg 2 1 1 0 2:1 +1 4
7 Borussia Mönchengladbach 2 1 1 0 2:1 +1 4
9 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2 1 0 1 3:2 +1 3
9 SV Werder Bremen 2 1 0 1 3:2 +1 3
11 SpVgg Greuther Fürth 2 1 0 1 1:3 -2 3
12 VfL Wolfsburg 2 1 0 1 1:4 -3 3
13 1. FSV Mainz 05 2 0 1 1 1:2 -1 1
14 Sport-Club Freiburg 2 0 1 1 1:3 -2 1
15 Hamburger SV 2 0 0 2 0:3 -3 0
16 FC Augsburg 2 0 0 2 1:5 -4 0 Relegation
17 1899 Hoffenheim 2 0 0 2 1:6 -5 0 Relegation
18 VfB Stuttgart 2 0 0 2 1:7 -6 0 Relegation

Table thanks to the Bundesliga Official Website

Article originally written on Football Fan Cast

When Spanish stardust arrived in Gelsenkirchen

After it was announced Raul would not extend his contract at Schalke after the end of the current season, Diana Yeow looks back at the time when Raul first arrived at the club.

Raul at the media conference a week ago to announce that he will not extend his current contract with Shalke. He will leave at the end of the season.

It was striking reading what Schalke chairman Clemens Tönnies said at the media conference. Tönnies has always been a big fan of Raul, and played a part in pulling off one of the biggest coups in the club’s transfer history back in July 2010. He paid a glowing tribute to the Spaniard and said that the doors at the club will always remain open to him. And it was done, speaking with emotion.

For those wanting to be cynical, what happened a week ago at Schalke was not a time to be (or unless it is about Raul’s shirt number being apparently retired for an indefinite period of time). Not often someone in Clemens Tönnies’s position will eulogise about someone who will have played at the club for two seasons when the current Bundesliga season ends. But Raul’s announcement also got me even (with my VfB Stuttgart loyalties) walking down memory lane of the time when he did arrived at Schalke.

It was the summer of 2010, post-World Cup and Jose Mourinho had become coach of Real Madrid. There were several arrivals into the club with likes of Mesut Özil, who went to the Spanish capital on the back of his performances for the German national team in the World Cup in South Africa. Then came those Mourinho had to ship off. It soon became clear the man who has always been synonymous with Real Madrid was on that list, Raul. When Florentino Perez returned to the club as president for the second time, there were already questions whether he and Raul could get along given the relationship between the two after Perez’s first stint as club president. Raul did announce his departure from the club where he had accomplished quite a lot, the La Liga titles, the Champions League triumphs, though he didn’t said where he is heading next though.

But over in Germany, rumours were growing of the possiblity of Raul arriving at Schalke. As much as I was beginning to get excited at the idea that someone of Raul’s stature could be coming to the Bundesliga, I also tried not to get my hopes too high, given of the rumours of of a move to the Premier League in England. The rumours of Raul coming to Schalke began after the club had shipped Kevin Kuranyi off to play in Russia, thus leaving a room for a striker to come in. There were factors suggested a Raul move to Schalke. Christoph Metzelder had returned back to Germany and joined Schalke after his time at Real Madrid. Not only that, Schalke were due to be playing in the Champions League.

Then along came photos of Raul’s wife and his sons being spotted in Düsseldorf. That raised the hopes in Germany. For my generation, Raul had always been a one-club man. He could have chosen where the money is and not come to play in Germany. But that is just the man who just wants to play football, and enjoy playing it.

There was much pomp and pageantry when Raul was officially unveiled; such was the stature of the Spaniard. For the Bundesliga, this was a statement of the increasing allure of the league and for Schalke, it was quite a transfer coup by their standards. It was Christoph Metzelder, who had been Raul’s team-mate at Real Madrid which swung the deal Schalke’s way, and that was despite the then-Schalke coach Felix Magath who also played a part in the transfer. But it was already clear at that time who was really excited by the presence of Raul at the club. Club chairman Clemens Tönnies.

Schalke chairman Clemens Toennies, he is quite a big fan of Raul.

I personally nearly got choked up when Raul talked about his greatest moments at Schalke last Thursday. Schalke’s DFB-Pokal win last season was significant for him given he had never won the domestic cup with Real Madrid, but it was the mention of when he went to celebrate with the fans after Schalke had beaten Inter in the Champions League last season which gave me the goosebumps. That is my personal favourite Raul moment at Schalke. Not any of the goals he had scored, but that.

As much as I am sad that Raul will not be extending his current contract with Schalke, I am also comforting myself that I am privileged in the knowledge that someone like Raul did come to play in the Bundesliga where his professionalism has rubbed off on the young upstarts at the club like Julian Draxler. For all the stardust he has brought to German football, he has always been down-to-earth and humble. You cannot say that often in football these days.

Fines A Sign of Bad Times for Wolfsburg?

There is an eerie calm during the two weeks international breaks intrude upon top flight league schedules. Pubs near stadiums likely find their trade less brisk on these weekends while fans entertain themselves with other leisurely activities typically omitted from their usual football rituals. Players not participating in their national squad fixtures are permitted more time to rest and recover, granted a brief reprieve from the weekly grind along with the incessant “Will he play?” type questions for those with nagging injuries.

When the break comes on the heels of a transfer window having just slammed shut, or closed softly, or simply concluded, it can be downright crickets. This is all well and good though for the club trainers, most of whom might appreciate the time to assess their squads after all the comings and goings during the transfer season without having to busily cobble together a plan of action in a matter of a couple days. For some, it might be a welcome break from the media glare, particularly if the season has not gone as swimmingly as planned. Of course, not a bit of that matters to Wolfsburg’s trainer Felix Magath, for he is a slave to the rhythm.

And we all know rhythm is a dancer, don’t we? It’s our soul’s companion, and all that nonsense.

No, not content with utilizing the time to evaluate his club’s concluded player transactions along their rather recent woeful defensive record as a team–having conceded 7 goals over the last two matches–Magath appears to have singled out two of his more attack-minded players during this time off and shine the media spotlight on them (and himself) instead. Charging Patrick Helmes and Mario Mandzukic with being “lazy runners” during the side’s 4-1 defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach, the pair were fined € 10,0000 each by that noted lover of medicine balls over this internationals weekend. While this is not something unprecedented for that crazy cat Felix, it is rather odd, considering neither player has ever come across as being particularly consistent up and down the pitch ever nor have either been regularly considered defensive assets to their squads.

Honestly, if Magath is going to fine Helmes for not moving about that much, he might as well charge him for being, well, Patrick Helmes. He could pursue the matter retroactively and tell Patrick he owes Bayer Leverkusen a few thousand euros while he’s at it.

The matter, though, might be rather amusing now to some Bundesliga observers, as this is Magath’s modus operandi, but for Wolfsburg supporters, it could spell the continuation of a poor run of form. As the experiment under English manager Schtunning Schteve McClaren crashed and burned at the VW Arena near the close of last year’s campaign, VfL returned to Magath, the only trainer to have taken die Wölfe to the Bundesliga summit, in an attempt to bring form to function. Most of the club McClaren had inherited fit Magath’s championship-winning system, and try as they might, McClaren’s tactics and his squad just could not get on the same page; thus, Magath picked up his poisoned chalice after having parted ways with Schalke 04 earlier in the season.

So, the cat is back, but will this type of old school encouragement work on his current Wolfsburg squad? Magath demonstrated last season during Schalke’s woeful 2010/11 league campaign this sort of managerial style works only in the proper circumstances, and can often backfire with lacklustre results. Last season, Magath isolated players such as Jermaine Jones and Alex Baumjohann in a similar fashion, labeling them as lazy and opting for them to rot on the reserve squad of the Royal Blues during his tenure. This, of course, was the same Jones who was vital in Schalke’s midfield just the previous 2009/10 season and impressive when he was finally able to escape the final days of Magath’s reign while on loan to Blackburn earlier this year. As for Baumjohann, he was returned to the side when Ralf Rangnick took over, and looks to be a first choice substitute as Rangnick rotates his midfield during the Bundesliga and Europa League campaigns this season.

Also, ask Zvonomir Soldo how effective going old school can be. Anyone know where he is these days?

With Wolfsburg likely needing their goal scorers on quality form while players on the back line like the two-footed Sortirios Kyrgiakos get sorted following the departure of the lad Simon Kjaer, this might not be the best of moments to unsettle them via negative motivational tactics. Having observed Helmes at Bayer 04, he seems to be a player who needs more confidence spewing forth from the trainer’s box than other strikers, he needs time on the pitch, and he needs to be allowed to sort out his own mistakes for positive results to take place. As for Mandzukic, his form has always been slightly spotty; in one match, he’ll appear as active as a sea turtle beaching itself to lay eggs, the very next match, he can be found darting vertically all over the pitch like a hare with his ears pinned back.

In short, this is probably a decision waiting to backfire on Magath like an old Beetle.

The break, then, is ending. Players on international duty will soon be rejoining their respective clubs, with a new matchday approaching like a freight train of relief for league enthusiasts bored out of their gourds the past weekend. For Magath and Wolfsburg, whether his decision to fine VfL players for sleeping on the job proves motivational or detrimental can only be determined on the pitch, and what better way to find out than with a home match against Schalke, featuring many of the players Magath treated in a similar manner last season along with a few he loaned out completely for not fitting his style. It should be a right family get together, then.