Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath has admitted the 2009 German champions are in a relegation battle after they slipped to their fifth defeat in nine games with a 4-1 hammering by Werder Bremen on Saturday. Their lacklustre display against Werder Bremen came only a fortnight after a 2-0 defeat at Augsburg, who were then bottom of the table, while Magath's team also suffered a 5-1 humiliation at champions Borussia Dortmund in early November.
Magath coached Die Wolfe to the 2009 title when they swept all before them in the German league as strikers Edin Dzeko, since departed to Manchester City, and Brazil's Grafite, now at Al-Ahli Dubai in the UAE, scored 54 goals between them. But two years on, they are a shadow of their former selves as they languish 14th in the table, four points from the bottom, having spent the season dropping slowly down the Bundesliga.
"We are fighting against relegation," said Magath after Bremen's veteran Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro ran riot with a goal and two assists against his men. "We left too many holes against an attack-minded Bremen team, which cost us and we deserved to lose."
Having won the German league title twice as Bayern Munich coach, Magath lifted the Bundesliga shield at Wolves, but left soon after to coach Schalke. He was sacked by Die Königsblauen in February and returned to Wolves in March, after Wolfsburg dismissed former England manager Steve McClaren, but having steered them away from relegation last season, Magath must do it all again.
"After we went 1-0 down, we no longer defended properly, it was easy to score against us, as it has often been against us in the away games," said Magath. "In a foreign stadium, we don't seem to have the mental strength to come back. We have to keep working hard and do all we can to strengthen the team."
With the Bundesliga set to break for winter next Sunday, Magath has said he will turn to January's transfer market in the hope of improving his squad. "It was already clear in pre-season that the rebuilding of the team would take longer than just one transfer window," said Magath. "We will see what is possible in the transfer window, certainly pick up a player or two who can take us forward and give one or two away."
Bayern Munich's Croatian striker Ivica Olic said last week that Wolfsburg are an option for him, as he struggles for first-team football at the German giants, which is a pre-requisite for him if he is to seal his place in his country's UEFA EURO 2012 squad.