Magath's Houdini act | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 16, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 16, 2011


Magath's Houdini act

Coach Felix Magath admitted feeling an empty sense of relief after avoiding German league relegation for the fourth time in his career thanks to VfL Wolfsburg's 3-1 win at Hoffenheim.
Having conceded a goal just after half-time, his side were heading for a defeat which would have meant a drop to the second division before they roared back to floor Hoffenheim when the German league season finished on Saturday.
Wolves were rescued when Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic netted twice before Brazil striker Grafite scored a third to seal victory.
The result means the 2009 champions avoid relegation by just two points and finish 15th -- just above the relegation places.
Magath maintains his proud record of having never been relegated despite four close shaves, having also won the Bundesliga title just two years ago with Wolfsburg and twice while coach of Bayern Munich.
The 57-year-old also avoided relegation with Hamburg, in 1995-96, Eintracht Frankfurt, in 1999-2000 and VfB Stuttgart, in 2000-01.
"It's been dramatic," admitted Magath, who only took over as Wolfsburg coach in March after ex-England coach Steve McClaren was sacked with his side sliding down the table.
"I just now feel very relieved and empty.
"The tension was incredibly high.
"We fell behind early in the second half and because of the other results, it meant were were effectively relegated, so this is a tremendous relief."
There was drama in the build-up to kick off as Wolfsburg's Brazil midfielder Diego stormed out on the team after being dropped for the final game.
The Brazilian, who signed for 15 million euros from Juventus in August, now has an uncertain future at the club and will be fined an undisclosed sum and reprimanded for his tantrum.
"He will be given a fine, then a warning. After that we need to see what happens," said Magath.
After Wolfsburg finished 15th, Eintracht Frankfurt and St Pauli are the two teams to be relegated.
Borussia Moenchengladbach end the season 16th and face a two-legged play-off against the side who finish third in the second division side.
28 goals:
Gomez (Bayern Munich)
22: Cisse (Freiburg)
17: Novakovic (Cologne)
16: Barrios (Borussia Dortmund), Gekas (Eintracht Frankfurt), Lakic (Kaiserslautern)
15: Schurrle (Mainz 05)
Bayern Munich 2
(Gomez 37, Schweinsteiger 71)
VfB Stuttgart 1 (Okazaki 24)
Hoffenheim 1 (Roberto Firmino 49) VfL Wolfsburg 3 (Mandzukic
60, 73, Grafite 78)
Hanover 96 3 (Haggui 30,
Rausch 60, Ya Konan 78-og) Nuremberg 1 (Wiessmeier 25)
Borussia Dortmund 3
(Barrios 68, 90, Russ 72-og)
Eintracht Frankfurt 1 (Rode 46)
Hamburg 1 (Ben-Hatira 71) Borussia M'gladbach 1 (Arango 41)
Mainz 05 2 (Schuerrle 58-pen, Allagui 82) St. Pauli 1 (Lehmann 42)
Cologne 2 (Novakovic 25, Jajalo 60) Schalke 04 1 (Raul 87)
Freiburg 0 Bayer Leverkusen 1 (Makiadi 45-og)
Kaiserslautern 3 (Nemec 7, Rodnei 9, Lakic 30) Werder Bremen 2
(Frings 43, Arnautovic 55)

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