Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wolfsburg looks for three points against Hoffenheim

With Wolfsburg’s remarkable run in the Rückrunde coming to an end against Energie Cottbus, Felix Magath enters the final month of the campaign with his side holding a narrow three point advantage over Hertha BSC. On Saturday die Wölfe welcome free-falling Hoffenheim to the Volkswagen Arena with three points firmly targeted.

Despite holding the Bundesliga lead, Mr Magath has been cagey with the media, speaking of maintaining their goal towards fifth-place, all the while allowing other teams stand in-line for public attention. Through the past week whilst Bayern reached into Borussia Mönchengladbach's history for Jupp Heynckes to lead them in pursuit of the championship, Mr. Magath has done his best to avoid the limelight. While few in the English-speaking media might see the irony of the Wolfsburg leader rising to the top, while his eventual replacement with Bayern being replaced by a long-time Gladbach man, it should also be pointed out that Wolfsburg will not be satisfied with a "fifth place" finish and looking to cull the hopes with a resounding defeat of Hoffenheim.

For their visitors, 2009 has not been kind to them. The fairy-tale story of the little village side climbing to the heights of the Bundesliga has turned to into Alfred Hitchcock psychological thriller that is sometimes too painful to watch. Since the winter break they have won a single match and effectively turned 180º and fortunate to have built up enough points early, lest they would need to dealing with talk of relegation and the like.

Returning to last weeks affair, while Bojan Prašnikar’s forces did a superb job nullifying Wolfsburg's scoring trio of Edin Džeko, Zvjezdan Misimović and Grafite the same tactical plan is unlikely to be a template that will be successful again given its reliance upon slowing the match down with endless "phantom" fouls if not simply a poor day by the goal scorers. At this stage Wolfsburg has no notable omissions from Saturday's fixture as they look to restart their winning streak.