• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Magath looks to repeat magic at Schalke as Bundesliga kicks off

AFP · 7 Aug 2009, 16:45

Published: 07 Aug 2009 16:45 GMT+02:00

The 56-year-old, who won two league titles with Bayern Munich before he was sacked in February 2007, hardly put a foot wrong last season as the side he built swept the league.

While Bayern Munich faltered and eventually sacked ex-Germany coach Jürgen Klinsmann in April, Wolfsburg picked up their first league crown in May, only for Magath to then quit to become coach and team manager at Schalke.

The Royal Blues spent most of last season in disarray and Magath's first job has to be to build some team spirit and plug gaps in their defence before their first league game against newly-promoted Nuremburg on Saturday. His replacement at Wolfsburg, Armin Veh, won the league title with Stuttgart in 2007, and his first game in charge is against his former club in the season's opening game.

Veh is fortunate Wolfsburg have managed to keep hold of key strikers Edwin Dzeko and Brazilian Grafite despite interest from some of Europe's top clubs while on Wednesday they were boosted as Bosnian international midfielder Zvjezdan Misimovic extended his contract until 2013.

Between them Dzeko and Grafite netted 54 league goals, but it remains to be seen if the team can repeat their surprise success or handle the step up to the Champions League where they will make their debut.

"The team is very motivated. My initial impressions from the first training camp have absolutely been confirmed," said Veh whose attacking options have been further boosted by the arrival of Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins from Newcastle. "We are looking forward to the season and showing what we can do."

The man with the highest-profile job in German league football is Dutchman Louis van Gaal who arrives as Bayern Munich coach to try to succeed where Klinsmann failed.

Previous achievements count for nothing at success-greedy Bayern where domestic honours are demanded and Champions League success is expected. The 57-year-old van Gaal has inherited an embarrassment of riches in attack with Bayern's squad containing Germany strikers Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose, as well as Italian World Cup winner Luca Toni and Croatia's Ivica Olic.

Promising youngster Thomas Müller makes it five forwards pushing for two places in van Gaal's starting line-up and the straight-taking ex-Holland coach is expected to stamp his mark on the side. Their club president German football legend Franz Beckenbauer is in no doubt of the quality of the present squad.

"This is the best ever Bayern side," 'The Kaiser' proudly declared, though, his words may come back to haunt him. "We want to become German champions and at the very least reach the Champions League quarter-finals if not the semis."

German national coach Joachim Löw does not share Beckenbauer's optimism.

"It (the league title) will not be a formality," said Löw. "There are several sides who have made progress in the past few years in terms of consistency and quality. Maybe there will be another surprise winner such as Stuttgart and Wolfsburg."

Bayern captain Mark van Bommel said the players are responding to van Gaal's direct approach.

"He clearly tells us what he wants to see. He's a straight talker, he corrects you and urges you on."

Story continues below…

Raised voices on the practice ground from time to time are not a problem, says van Bommel. "It's criticism to help you improve. It's well-intentioned, to stop it happening again."

The Dutchman's first league game in charge is against last season's dark horses Hoffenheim who led the league on their debut Bundesliga season at Christmas before falling off the pace.

The loss of striker Vedad Ibisevic with a cruciate ligament injury in the winter break was a devastating blow, but coach Ralf Rangnick can ill-afford another collapse which saw his side slump to mid-table.

Of the three sides coming up - Nuremberg, Freiburg and Mainz - Nuremberg can be expected to handle the move up after only two seasons out of German's top flight.

Mainz by contrast hardly enter the season in a good state, though, they have already made Bundesliga history before a ball has been kicked after they became the first ever side to sack their coach prior to the start of the season when they removed Norwegian Jorn Andersen on Monday.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,614
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd