Felix Magath led Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga title in 2008/09. - © DFL
Felix Magath led Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga title in 2008/09. - © DFL
60 years of Bundesliga

Iconic Bundesliga teams: Wolfsburg 2008/09


The Wolfsburg side of 2008/09 made history by lifting the club's first Bundesliga title in stunning fashion, masterminded by legendary coach Felix Magath and fired by the devastating front-two of Edin Dzeko and Grafite.

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Diego Benaglio (goalkeeper)

At just 24, former VfB Stuttgart stopper, Benaglio, was brought back to the Bundesliga by Wolfsburg in January 2008 and immediately became the club's first-choice between the posts. His first full season then lead to an historic title victory, with the Switzerland international missing just three of 34 matchdays in 2008/09. There were a total of 11 clean sheets in his 31 appearances, with just Jens Lehman and Roman Weidenfeller (both 13) responsible for more shutouts. 

Sascha Riether (right-back)

Riether's versatility was a major asset to Magath and, although primarily operating from right-back, he was also deployed on the right and centre of midfield in this championship winning season. He provided two decisive goals in his 28 league outings in 2008/09, grabbing a 90th-minute equaliser at Hertha Berlin on Matchday 4 and hitting an 85th-minute winner away to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 27.

Jan Simunek (centre-back)

Simunek had just a single season's experience of professional football under his belt before joining Wolfsburg in 2007 but, two campaigns later, he had a Bundesliga title winner's medal round his neck. Alexander Madlung was initially preferred alongside Andrea Barzagli and it wasn't actually until Matchday 15 that Simunek made his first league appearance of the season. Even then, it was a one-minute cameo against Borussia Dortmund, but he was a near-constant fixture of the Rückrunde, playing in 16 of Wolfsburg's final 17 games to help see them over the line. 

Andrea Barzagli (centre-back)

In contrast, Barzagli was involved from start to finish and one of just three players - alongside Christian Gentner and Marcel Schäfer - to feature in all 34 of the Wolves' Bundesliga matches. The Italian had only joined on the eve of the 2008/09 campaign and would eventually move back to Italy with domestic giants Juventus, but not before making 94 outings for Wolfsburg and helping them to this historic title win. Powerful, intelligent, inspirational; Barzagli was a difference-maker. 

Grafite (l.), Josue (c.) and Andrea Barzagli (r.) were all key components in Wolfsburg's 2008/09 glory. - Bongarts/Getty Images

Marcel Schäfer (left-back)

Another constant to the cause was 24-year-old left-back Schäfer, who was playing in the second division of German football just two seasons prior to claiming the Meisterschale. His delivery from the left was spellbinding and led to eight league assists. Schäfer eventually made over 300 appearances for the club, becoming a veritable legend in green.

Josue (captain, defensive midfield)

The man who lifted the trophy on the final day, Brazil international Josue was another member of the team that joined in 2007/08 and went on to become a German champion at just the second attempt. He was Magath's mastermind on the pitch, orchestrating and organising the side from the base of midfield. Josue may not have impacted the game in the final third, but he was dominant in the centre of the pitch.

Makoto Hasebe (attacking midfield)

Some may only remember Hasebe as the retirement-defying Eintracht Frankfurt great, but his legend was already well and truly written as a 24-year-old in Wolfsburg. There will be even more who can only picture Hasebe as a centre-half or, at his most adventurous, a holding midfielder at the Deutsche Bank Park, but it's from attacking midfield that he shone at the Volkswagen Arena. With that said, Hasebe actually didn't score in the league that year, but his consistency and work rate were critical to Magath's plans.

Watch: Five of Makoto Hasebe's best Bundesliga moments

Zvjezdan Misimovic (attacking midfield)

The Munich-born Bosnia-Herzegovina international may have spent just two years in Wolfsburg, but boy did his flame burn bright during those 24 months. While the likes of Barzagli, Hasebe and Joseu were Magath's chief lieutenants, Misimovic was the boss' schemer-in-chief. As well as chipping in with seven goals of his own, Misimovic was both the team's and league's leading provider in terms of assists, constantly feeding the two strikers ahead of him, both of whom gorged on goals that season.

Christian Gentner (attacking midfield)

Gentner was the Wolves' next best in terms of assists, also finding the back of the net on four occasions himself, and was a rarity in the squad having arrived at the club with a previous Bundesliga glory to speak of. He was also part of the classic Stuttgart team that topped the charts in 2006/07, joining Wolfsburg the following year and clinching a second top-flight triumph one campaign later. 

Grafite (centre-forward)

Few outside of Brazil could have given you a detailed scouting report on Grafite before his arrival at Wolfsburg in August 2007. An 11-goal return in his first season in Germany was a handy enough return for Grafite, but he exploded into life the following season, bagging 28 league goals to fire Wolfsburg to the title and earn him personal glory in the form of clinching the Torjägerkanone. It was the best return of his career and also saw the then 29-year-old score one of the Bundesliga's greatest goals as he dazzled the defence of Bayern Munich in a 5-1 mauling on Matchday 26 that went a long way to deciding the title.

Watch: Grafite's legendary goal against Bayern Munich

Edin Dzeko (centre-forward)

If it wasn't for Grafite's ridiculous scoring record, Dzeko's 26 goals would have been enough to earn him the league's top-scorer crown. Like Grafite, Dzeko scored twice in that famous win over Bayern and the Bosnian's remarkable end of season form helped drive Wolfsburg to their eventual two-point advantage over the men from Munich. Dzeko scored in 13 of the final 16 games of the season, registering 21 of his 26 goals for the season and notching two hat-tricks in the process.

Felix Magath (coach)

Magath had won back-to-back league and cup doubles with Bayern in 2004/05 and 2005/06 before going on to deny his old club by masterminding Wolfsburg's stunning success in 2008/09. He rarely strayed from a preferred 4-1-3-2 or 4-4-2 diamond formation because he rarely needed to as Wolfsburg defied the odds and made history. It would be a memorable last act of his tenure, with a move to Schalke already agreed ahead of the Bundesliga's 2009/10 edition. He would briefly return in 2011 but these heights were too great to scale once again.