• 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
Train evacuated as passenger flips out during ticket check
Police at the scene in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

A regional train was evacuated in Leipzig on Wednesday after a passenger became aggressive during a ticket inspection.

Man arrested in Wuppertal as part of Spanish Isis raids
Police detain the suspect in Wuppertal. Photo: DPA

Police have arrested five suspected members of an Isis cell in Spain, Belgium and Germany that spread propaganda for the group online, the Spanish interior ministry said Wednesday.

Germans cut home energy usage by six percent in a year
Hamburg at night. Photo: DPA

The Energiewende is the German government's ambitious policy of drastically reducing carbon emissions. New figures show one remarkable success.

Merkel party MP under fire for using Nazi propaganda term
Bettina Kudla. Photo: Büro Bettina Kudla MdB/DPA.

A member of Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party is in hot water after tweeting over the weekend a Nazi propaganda term in her criticism of the country’s refugee policies.

Govt denies planning bailout for troubled Deutsche Bank
Photo: DPA

Germany's finance ministry on Wednesday said the government was "not preparing rescue plans" for Deutsche Bank, denying a newspaper report that state aid was being considered for the embattled lender.

Munich at high risk of housing bubble: report
A view of Munich. Photo: Pexels.com

Considering buying property in Munich? This report might make you think twice.

After fatal hail storm, south Germany set to see sun
The hail storm in Baden-Württemberg on Monday night left the streets looking like a winter landscape. Photo: DPA.

A hail storm in southwest Germany on Monday night led to the death of one woman, but forecasters predict a bit more sun in the days to come.

Police shoot dead father who attacked daughter's abuser
Police at the scene of the shooting in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Berlin police on Tuesday night shot and killed the father of a young girl at a refugee home as he tried to attack a man who allegedly sexually abused his daughter.

TV celebrity criticized for claiming 70 kg is overweight
Sophie Thomalla. Photo: DPA

Model Sophie Thomalla claimed that promoting models who weigh over 70 kg sets as dangerous an example as skinny supermodels.

UK files show how Spanish spy tricked Nazis over D-Day
Photo: DPA

Secret files released in Britain Wednesday shed new light on how a Spaniard dubbed the greatest double agent of World War II tricked Germany with false intelligence about the D-Day Normandy landings.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
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
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,545
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd