BERLIN - Champions VfL Wolfsburg enjoyed a perfect start to their Bundesliga season when second-half goals by midfielder Zvjezdan Misimovic and striker Grafite gave them a 2-0 victory against VfB Stuttgart on Friday. It was also a perfect debut for Wolfsburg coach Armin Veh, who was sacked by Stuttgart halfway through last season after guiding them to the Bundesliga title in 2007. Wolfsburg are now unbeaten at home since the 2007/8 season. "In the first half it was a balanced match with both teams playing at a high pace," said Veh, standing next to Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel who used to be his assistant. "But we dominated in the second half and deserved the win. Of course, it was easier to counter attack after the first goal," Veh told Sky television. Visitors Stuttgart, with their newest signings -- Russia striker Pavel Pogrebnyak and Belarus midfielder Aleksandr Hleb - in their lineup, had the first chance through Sami Khedira. The Germany midfielder thought he had scored but his header from Pogrebnyak's cross after 17 minutes bounced off the post into the hands of home keeper Diego Benaglio. Three minutes later it was Wolfsburg's turn to go close when Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko shook off three defenders and fired at Jens Lehmann who palmed the ball over the bar. The 39-year-old former Germany keeper was again at hand in the 34th minute when he saved a point-blank effort from Grafite. WOLFSBURG PRESSURE Wolfsburg gradually increased the pressure, with Marcel Schaefer sending a 20-metre strike just wide on the hour. Their efforts paid off 11 minutes later when Misimovic got the ball at the edge of the box, looked up, turned and curled his shot beyond Lehmann's reach. Last season's Bundesliga top scorer, Grafite, put the game beyond Stuttgart by shrugging off a defender and slotting the ball home eight minutes from time. "I am delighted to have scored today. I think we will become even stronger this season," said the 30-year-old Brazilian. On Saturday, Bayern Munich, who will be without injured playmaker Franck Ribery and striker Luca Toni, travel to Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund host Cologne while Schalke 04, under new coach Felix Magath, visit promoted Nuremberg.
7 August 2009
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