Good times


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A significant chapter in the club’s history has come to an end. The final whistle in the cup match at Union Berlin also signalled the end of Jörg Schmadtke’s time as managing director of VfL Wolfsburg. Four and a half years that, on the one hand, feel shorter because so much has happened, but on the other, the VfL of 2018 that the 58-year-old took over seems much further away today than seems possible. Whichever way you look at it, the bottom line is a record of success that could not have been imagined at the time. And which, given where the Wolves came from, should not be taken for granted.

First Braunschweig, then Kiel: the Wolves put their fans through a lot, just managing to stay in the Bundesliga via the play-offs two years running. With the arrival of Jörg Schmadtke, who immediately brought Marcel Schäfer on board as sporting director, a period of recovery was supposed to begin after the years of relegation worries. Instead, the rollercoaster ride continued as the Green-and-Whites stunned the Bundesliga in a completely different way. In a remarkable turnaround under coach Bruno Labbadia, they finished the 2018/19 season with a bang – and an 8-1 thrashing on Matchday 34 – in sixth place to qualify for the Europa League.

There hadn’t even been a major upheaval. A more gradual reorientation with a steady hand and sensible calculation, as well as a quiet nod towards the outside world – that was what the new club management stood for. Exciting players found their way to Wolfsburg in the years that followed, many of whom first made their name as footballers here. At the same time, despite all the usual fluctuations, an identity was established in the team, which can be seen in the three players who have remained with the club throughout Schmadtke’s four and a half years: Koen Casteels, Yannick Gerhardt and of course Maximilian Arnold.

Good times

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