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Magath makes winning start with Schalke

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 8 Aug 2009


Felix Magath, looking for glory with a fourth Bundesliga club, got off to the perfect start as coach of Schalke as German international Kevin Kuranyi struck twice to earn a 2-1 opening win at Nuremburg.

Kuranyi was on target either side of half-time to give the Royal Blues from the industrial Ruhr valley the points with Slovakian Marek Mintal netting a late consolation for their southern opponents.

Magath led unfashionable Wolsfsburg to the title last season to general surprise and then switched in the summer to take on a new challenge having already lifted two championships – and German Cups – with Bayern Munich after an earlier league cup success with Stuttgart.

As a player, the son of a Puerto Rican soldier in the US army won the European Cup with Hamburg.

But he was not happy with his side’s showing despite the win.

“What we showed late on after the Nuremberg goal was not worthy of the Bundesliga,” he raged after the hosts threatened to overhaul the deficit in the closing stages.

Magath’s departure to new climes has not affected Wolfsburg to date, however, as the club from the home of Volkswagen began their title defence with an impressive 2-0 home win over Stuttgart on Friday, striking an early blow against a team tipped as potential successors to the crown.

Late goals from Bosnian playmaker Zvjezdan Misimovic – who extended his contract earlier this week – and Brazilian striker Grafite secured the points.

Grafite and Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko, who grabbed 54 goals between them last season, were quickly out of the blocks on Friday against Stuttgart.

In the 19th minute, Dzeko pounced on a defensive error by Frenchman Matthieu Delpierre, but former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, looking sharp still at 39, turned the Bosnian’s shot around the post.

But Wolfsburg stuck to their task and their patience paid off in the 71st minute when a drive from Misimovic beat Lehmann before Grafite added a second, eight minutes from time.

Wolfsburg coach Armin Veh, who arrived from Stuttgart in place of Magath, said his side were worthy winners.

“After a very equal first half, where either side could have scored, we then dominated the second half and deserved the victory.”

Bayern Munich, who sacked Jurgen Klinsmann late last season as their title chase petered out and then temporarily put Jupp Heynckes in his place, were starting their campaign Saturday evening away to little Hoffenheim, who set the pace in the first half of last season before fading away.

New coach Louis van Gaal will be hoping to stamp his authority quickly on the Bavarian giants, who missed out on the title last time oput by two points.

Striker Mario Gomez, signed for a club record 30 million euros from Stuttgart, has a groin strain, but should start for Bayern although question marks remain over French international Franck Ribery, who has been dogged by knee trouble.

Elsewhere, Werder Bremen, who have lost last season’s star man Diego to Juventus, slid to a demoralising 3-2 home loss to Eintracht Frankfurt while Bayer Levrkusen had to settle for a 2-2 draw at promoted Mainz.



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