Wolfsburg parts company with coach Felix Magath

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WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) -Wolfsburg and coach Felix Magath have parted ways following the club's abysmal start to the Bundesliga season.

The club said Thursday in a statement that Magath "offered to be relieved of his duties because he did not want the club to be adversely affected."

Former reserve team coach Lorenz-Guenther Koestner will take over for the second time as interim coach.

The 60-year-old Koestner previously took over in January 2010, following the dismissal of Armin Veh. He led the side to eight wins from 15 games, with five losses.

Magath's position came under scrutiny after four league losses in a row and seven without a win left the club at the bottom of the standings after eight games.

The 59-year-old Magath was in his second stint in charge of Wolfsburg after leading the club to the 2009 title.

"During both terms with Wolfsburg he showed tremendous commitment and achieved great things for our club, the city of Wolfsburg and sport in the whole region," Wolfsburg chairman Francisco Garcia-Sanz said. "The focus is now on the upcoming games to get back to mid-table in the league as soon as possible."

Wolfsburg's only win was at Stuttgart on the opening day of the season. It has five points after drawing two more games.

Magath thanked fans for their "guidance and support" in a message posted on his Facebook account.

"I will stay in touch with you. There will be no shortage of exciting topics, thanks to life and football. Look after yourselves," Magath wrote.

Magath was under fire for his inconsistent team selections, unconventional training methods and haphazard recruitment policy.

He left creative midfielder Diego on the bench for last weekend's 2-0 home loss to Freiburg, while he was also criticized recently for reportedly emptying his players' bottles of water after sending them for a run.

Since his return the club in March 2011, Magath signed 26 players, six of whom have already left the club and seven who play little role. The latest recruits have also failed to impress.

Magath clinched consecutive league and cup doubles with Bayern Munich in 2005 and 2006 before being fired the next season.

"When the players run so little they are either shattered from training or they're playing against the coach," Bayern president Uli Hoeness said Monday. "If you manage to have 80 percent of the players against you after two titles in a row, then something isn't right. That also seems to be the problem in Wolfsburg."

Magath has also coached Bundesliga sides Schalke, Stuttgart, Eintracht Frankfurt, Werder Bremen and Nuremberg.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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