Can McClaren Bring Success To Wolfsburg?

For many England and Middlesboro fans, Steve McClaren is viewed as a joke, “Second choice Steve” or the manager who just couldn’t get it done at Middlesboro or with England. His name occasionally is bandied about as new English managerial openings are announced. Despite the mention, he is never given any real chance at getting those so-called prized EPL jobs. But after three years of winning football in Holland, where he lead FC Twente to the league title over much ballyhooed Martin Jol and his heavily favored Ajax, McClaren has taken his talents to the Bundesliga and Wolfsburg, becoming the first English manager in the German top flight.

For Wolfsburg fans, McClaren is not “Second choice Steve” but he is the only English manager to win a European league title in the 21st century and the only English manager to reach the finals of a major European tournament since 1984. Where exactly have Middlesboro gone since McClaren left? Oh, that’s right, they were relegated. History aside, Steve McClaren is facing a tough first match in the Bundesliga, away to Bayern Munich. But Wolfsburg are not Middlesboro; they have a recent history of competing for the top spot having won the league only two seasons ago.

Wolfsburg’s side is not as flashy as Bayern Munich but there is quality at every position and the addition of German international defender Arne Friedrich will stabilize Wolfsburg’s defense and add much needed leadership. In Bosnian international Edin Dzeko, McClaren has a proven 20-plus goal scorer in the Bundesliga. Dzeko tallied an impressive 28 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions last term, including four goals in six UEFA Champions League matches.So how will McClaren and Friedrich make a difference at Wolfsburg?

It’s simple, last term Wolfsburg were great away from home, where they actually grabbed more points and allowed half as many goals, and shite at home, where they let in everage 2.4 goals per match. Obviously the side played far too aggressively at home, trying to impress the crowd, and thus they allowed in an astounding 39 goals in only 17 league matches! McClaren’s cautious nature may see Dzeko score a few less goals, but the goals he gets will earn points rather than be wasted by a porous defense and poor tactical decisions brought on by the pressures of playing in front of the home crowd.

McClaren is a stable, steady hand and it will show over time and certainly Wolfsburd fans are hoping that he can work the same magic as he did for FC Twente. Currently Wolfsburg are occupying 8th place in Bundesliga with 11 points adrift of the current leader, Mainz.

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