Felix Magath was denied the perfect return to Wolfsburg by Georg Niedermeier's dramatic injury-time equalizerA predatory strike from Grafite was not enough to ensure a winning start for Felix Magath in the first game of his second spell at Wolfsburg, as Stuttgart battled back to secure a 1-1 draw courtesy of a 94th minute equalizer from center-half Georg Niedermeier.
Die Woelfe took the lead five minutes before half-time through one of the key figures during Magath's title-winning reign in Wolfsburg. Brazilian hitman Grafite determinedly shrugged off first Stefano Celozzi and then Georg Niedermeier before forcing the ball high into the roof of the net past a helpless Sven Ulreich. It was the 31-year old's eighth strike of this campaign.
Magath's men appeared to be on course for victory but they were denied at the death by a last-gasp equalizer. The center-back, who was beaten by Grafite for the first goal, was unmarked in the penalty area and he held his nerve to guide the ball past Andre Lenz to secure a vital point for die Roten.
Given what was at stake today, it was understandable that both sides were cagey in the opening fifteen minutes as no quarter was given. Stuttgart enjoyed more of the ball although Wolfsburg did look more organized than they during the tenures of Steve McClaren and Pierre Littbarski.
Timo Gebhart will feel he should have done better on 24 minutes when he shot straight at Andre Lenz. Five minutes later, Grafite shook off Serdar Tasci before sliding the ball through to Diego, who was denied by a superb piece of brave goalkeeping from Sven Ulreich. Worryingly for Bruno Labbadia, in-form Serbian midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic was forced off before half-time with a painful looking knee problem ; his replacement was the Brazilian Elson.
The game became more disjointed and scrappy after the break as both sides struggled to carve out opportunities until the 66th minute. Substitute midfielder Jan Polak volleyed the ball towards goal from close range only to be denied by a combination of Ulreich's sharp reflexes and the post.
Grafite had a glorious chance to add a second but once again Ulreich came to Suttgart's rescue with nine minutes remaining. The hosts struggled to create chances despite their need for an equalizer although Andre Lenz was forced to parry away a Gebhart header with three minutes to go.
Wolfsburg remain in the relegation zone while their opponents occupy fifteenth, just about the play-off spot. Stuttgart face a long trip to the north in two weeks when they take on Werder Bremen while Felix Magath's first game at the VW Arena is against Eintracht Frankfurt.
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