Football: Big-spending Wolves saved by home-grown striker
A striker who cost Wolfsburg nothing gave them a winning start to 2012 on Saturday as coach Felix Magath unveiled the new-look team he bolstered during the winter break for 30 million euros.
The 2009 German league champions struggled at the start of the season and once the Bundesliga broke for winter in December, Magath went straight to the transfer market bringing in eight new players and releasing three.
In the end it was 20-year-old Sebastian Polter who came off the bench to seal their 1-0 win over Cologne with a 78th-minute header, claiming his second goal in two games on just his third appearance.
He came up through Wolfsburg's reserve team, having joined the club back in 2007, and the striker also scored the winner against Stuttgart last December in their final game of 2011.
Magath started four of his new signings while French striker Giovanni Sio, bought from Swiss side FC Sion, came off the bench late on.
Defenders Ricardo Rodriguez, signed from Zurich for 8.5 million euros, Felipe Lopes, bought from Portugal's Nacional Funchal for 2.5 million, as well as midfielders Vieirinha, signed from PAOK Saloniki for 4.5 million, and Czech Petr Jiracek, who cost four million from Viktoria Pilsen, were the new signings who started.
"I am, of course, very happy not only with the result, but also with the game my team played," said Magath, who has a reputation as a hard taskmaster on the training pitch.
"I saw far more structure within the team's game than I did in the first half of the season. I am also really happy with the potential of the new players."
Having returned to Wolfsburg last March after being sacked by Schalke, where he also dramatically altered the squad after a spending spree, Magath has again splashed the cash on the transfer market.
Polter's winner left Wolfsburg ninth in the table.
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