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We´re strangers in paradise, says Wolfsburg coach

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 19 Apr 2009

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Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath has admitted his side are not accustomed to their role of Bundesliga leaders as they keep a three-point gap over second-placed Bayern Munich with six games left.

“You can see the pressure on the team of being leaders,” said Magath whose side needed a late goal from Brazil striker Grafite to seal a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

“You could already see it last week, it was obvious today against Leverkusen and I am sure it will be the same next week.

“But we have to happy with the win, at the beginning of each half Leverkusen were stronger and we were lucky they did not score.”

This was Wolfsburg’s tenth-straight win and Magath’s side have now equalled the Bundesliga’s 22-year-old record set by Moenchengladbach for consecutive victories in a single season.

Wolfsburg took the lead against Leverkusen when Bayer defender Manuel Friedrich hauled down Grafite only for the Brazilian to slot home the resulting penalty on 23 minutes for the home side.

Leverkusen’s teenage forward Tony Kroos scored his first goal for his club since joining Leverkusen in January from Bayern Munich in the 53rd minute to equalise.

But Wolfsburg had the final say when Grafite maintained his phenomenal scoring record when he netted his 22nd league goal this season in his 19th Bundesliga game to give the home side another three points.

“Our target at the start of the season was to finish in the top five,” said Grafite, who won a single cap for Brazil in 2005.

“Nothing has been changed by the current success, we must think only from game to game.

“There are still six matches left, if we can keep this up to the end of the season it will of course be fantastic.”

Having exited the Champions League last week, after defeat to Barcelona in the quarter-finals, defending champions Bayern remain in second place, three points behind Wolfsburg, thanks to striker Luca Toni’s second-half header.

“We needed the points to stay up there with Wolfsburg,” said Bayern coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

“We have two home games next and we can keep pushing on. We?re looking for maximum points.

“Wolfsburg will drop points sooner or later, and that?s when we?ll overtake them.

“Provided we keep doing what has to be done, we?ll go top at some point.”

But Wolfsburg have not dropped a single Bundesliga point since they drew 1-1 with Cologne on January 31 while pressure remains on Klinsmann who was booed by his own fans last Tuesday before the game against Barcelona.

Germany defender Philipp Lahm said Bayern are determined to keep up the pressure as the Bundesliga title race looks set to go to the wire when it finishes on May 23.

“We want to stay up there at the top, so it was incredibly important to win away from home against Wolfsburg,” said Lahm.

“It doesn?t matter how, the vital thing was taking three points.

“It was a convincing team display, even if it was lacking footballing quality.

“But at this stage of the season, you have to be satisfied with three points.”

Wolfsburg face Energie Cottbus, Hoffenheim, VfB Stuttgart, Borussia Dortmund, Hanover 96 and Werder Bremen before the end of the season.

In contrast, Bayern face Schalke 04, relegation-threatened Borussia M’gladbach, Cottbus, Bayer Leverkusen, Hoffenheim and VfB Stuttgart in their title run in.

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