Magath’s two years saw the Wolves rebuilding the team almost from scratch adding key players like Josue, Ricardo Costa, Grafite, and Edin Dzeko in the first season. They climbed from relegation zone to 5th place in his first season. The trend continued in the second season with defender Andrea Berzagli and goalie Diego Benaglia.
However, the most influential signing as it turned out would be that of Bosnian playmaker Zvjezdan Misimovic who joined in 2008 at a price of £3.9 million.
Misimovic’s dazzling passing skills have been instrumental in turning the Wolfsburg attack into a potent force and in no small measure, his contribution in creating so many chances for Grafite and Dzeko, made it possible to set their record 54 goals, the first striker tandem to score over 20 goals each in Bundesliga history. While the media focuses on that attention grabbing stat, Misimovic quietly accrued another record with the most number of assists in a season with 20. He is no slouch when it comes to scoring with 7 goals including the opening one in yesterday’s drubbing of Werder that gave them the title.
He is described as a classic number 10 who stays in the middle of the pitch, making himself available to receive passes and in turn waiting for the perfect moment to dish to a sprinting forward. He also takes the clubs free kicks and corners. Misimovic’s introverted personality makes him the ideal team player, preferring his precision game to make a statement.
“I think a number 10, i.e. a playmaker, always has to put himself in position to receive passes when his team has the ball and has to set up his teammates, especially the strikers,” Misimovic said. “You have to read certain situations, spot the space that opens up and play the ball on quickly. Basically you set the tempo for the team.”
The ability to set a tempo, or dictate the flow of play, is very important because Misimovic is not the fastest player, a shortcoming that he is aware of.
“I know I’m not the fastest guy around but there are other players who aren’t quick and still play at the highest European level.”
He is on contract till 2012 so he will still be with the Wolves next season but his form makes him a huge transfer target. Bayern may seek the return of a player who was part of the 2003 title winning team. Ribery is getting restless in Munich, as his team struggles making any meaningful impact in Europe. Werder is reportedly interested too as Diego has been linked with Juve. His price has gone up and he is currently valued at about £10m.