Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath admitted yesterday his side are not accustomed to their role of Bundesliga leaders as they kept a three-point gap over second-placed Bayern Munich after a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
“You can see the pressure on the team of being leaders,” Magath said.
“You could already see it last week, it was obvious today against Leverkusen and I am sure it will be the same next week,” he said. “But we have to happy with the win, at the beginning of each half Leverkusen were stronger and we were lucky they did not score.”
It was Wolfsburg’s 10th-straight win and Magath’s side have now equaled the Bundesliga’s 22-year-old record set by Borussia Moenchengladbach for consecutive victories in a single season.
Wolfsburg took the lead when defender Manuel Friedrich hauled down Grafite. The Brazilian slotted home the resulting penalty on 23 minutes.
Leverkusen’s teenage forward Tony Kroos scored his first goal for the club since joining Leverkusen in January from Bayern Munich in the 53rd minute to equalize.
But Wolfsburg had the final say when Grafite maintained his phenomenal scoring record when he netted his 22nd league goal this season in his 19th Bundesliga game to give the home side another three points.
“Our target at the start of the season was to finish in the top five,” said Grafite, who won a single cap for Brazil in 2005. “Nothing has been changed by the current success, we must think only from game to game.”
“There are still six matches left, if we can keep this up to the end of the season it will of course be fantastic,” he said.
Bayern edged hosts Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 thanks to a second half Luca Toni header to stay in the hunt.
The reigning Bundesliga champions started well and had a good chance but Toni, unmarked in front of goal, failed to connect with a well-placed Jose Sosa cross.
Arminia came even closer when Artur Wichniarek shook off Martin Demichelis to float in a cross for Robert Tesche but keeper Joerg Butt made a stunning reflex save to keep out the header.
The 15th-placed team collapsed in the second half and were lucky to concede only one goal when Bayern attacked in waves, missing chance after chance mainly through Franck Ribery, Hamit Altintop and Toni.
VfB Stuttgart striker Mario Gomez scored a hat-trick against Cologne to give his team a 3-0 win that lifted them over Hertha Berlin and Hamburg into third.
Borussia Dortmund made it four wins in a row with a 2-0 win over VfL Bochum.