BERLIN - VfL Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath has been around too long to just sit back and enjoy watching his players clinch their first Bundesliga title on Saturday with a win over Werder Bremen on the last matchday. With a two-point lead over record champions Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart going into the last match, a win will guarantee the Bundesliga title and even a draw or a defeat could be enough to clinch it. Magath, used to success on the big stage as player and coach, is in no mood for early celebrations, however, demanding that his players keep their focus and close their eyes to the green-and-white decorations already on show in the city streets and squares. "We are not yet sucking on the candy," Magath warned this week, after sending off Daniel Adlung during training for what the strict disciplinarian perceived as lack of commitment in practice. "We must stay focused for another 90 minutes. If we play half as good as in the last two matches then it should be enough," Magath said. It will be hard for Wolfsburg to actually lose the title in what has been the most gripping season finale in years. With a near-perfect home record of 15 wins and a draw in 16 games, the match against Bremen, fresh from their UEFA Cup final defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk and ahead of the May 30 German Cup final, should be straightforward. BAYERN MIRACLE Even second-placed Bayern are now only hoping for a miracle, similar to the one in 2001 when a last-gasp goal against Hamburg SV won them the title as Schalke 04 were already celebrating. This time, though, matters are not entirely in Bayern's hands. The champions face Stuttgart, direct competitors, who would be more than happy to settle for second place and win automatic Champions League qualification. "I don't want to think about the title. Second spot is realistic even though we have a Herculean task," said Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel, a former Bayern player. Stuttgart have salvaged what looked like a lost season, with Babbel taking over in late November and guiding them up the table. A win in Munich would be the crowning achievement of his first season as Bundesliga coach before even obtaining the proper coaching licence. "The dice have been cast by 99.5 percent," Bayern General Manager Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. "The title is in Wolfsburg's hands and I do not see them dropping it. If we are second after the game against Stuttgart we will be happy with the season."
21 May 2009
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