BERLIN - Champions VfL Wolfsburg's Friday match against Schalke 04 will be their first encounter with former coach Felix Magath since he steered them to their maiden Bundesliga title last season.
Wolfsburg have started badly in the league with only six points from five matches, including three defeats in a row, and are in 10th place.
The club are hoping their 3-1 win over CSKA Moscow in the Champions League group stage on Tuesday could fire them up.
"The last weeks have not been easy," said defender Marcel Schaefer. "But (against Moscow) we showed our strength which is offensive football. This win gives us confidence for the Bundesliga."
Coach Armin Veh has so far failed to replicate Wolfsburg's lethal pace and attack mainly because opponents now know what to expect from the champions.
Despite their Champions League win, another defeat against Schalke, who are in third place three points off leaders Hamburg SV, would pile considerable pressure on Veh.
"I have been in this business for quite a few years and have no problem handling pressure," Veh said.
Fifth-placed Bayern Munich could climb up the table after a rocky start, with Frenchman Franck Ribery set to start in his first league match following a string of injuries, when they take on promoted Nuremberg in the Bavarian derby on Saturday.
Bayern's mid-week 3-0 victory at Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League, which came hot on the heels of their 5-1 demolition of Borussia Dortmund last week, looks to have silenced critics and improved ties between Ribery and coach Louis van Gaal.
The German record champions are five points off the top.
Hamburg SV travel to fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday while second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, level on 13 points with Hamburg, take on mercurial Werder Bremen.comments