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Sports

Magath refuses to confirm Schalke claims

Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath has refused to comment on reports suggesting he plans to defect to rival club Schalke, saying rumors of a move were aimed at destabilizing the Bundesliga leaders.

Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath

Magath says he won't confirm or deny rumors about his future

"The article on which the rumors are based appeared in Stuttgart. That is the crux," Magath told reporters.

"The intention behind it should be clear. Somebody is interested in causing unrest at the club."

With five games remaining, Wolfsburg leads the Bundesliga two points ahead of Hertha Berlin, and three points clear of Bayern Munich, Stuttgart and Hamburg.

Wolfsburg striker Grafite beats defenders from Bayern Munich

With Magath as coach, Wolfsburg has outmaneuvered Bayern Munich this year

A flurry of media speculation over the coach's future was triggered on Wednesday when the Stuttgarter Zeitung daily newspaper published a report saying Magath was close to a deal with Schalke.

Public television broadcaster WDR then reported that Schalke's supervisory board had confirmed it had reached "an agreement in principle" with the coach. But Schalke has refused to comment on the reports.

"I fear you will find no member of the Schalke supervisory board who will confirm that," Magath said.

The coach said he would neither be issuing a denial nor a confirmation about the reports.

"Even in the past I have neither confirmed nor denied rumors. I am not commenting on this subject and this will be my stance until the end of the season," he said.

A crowd of Schalke fans

2009 hasn't given Schalke fans much to cheer about

In demand

The current Bundesliga season has seen 55-year-old Magath take Wolfsburg to the top of the league table and close to winning the club's first-ever title.

However, German sports media report Magath has clashed with Wolfsburg's board during negotiations over his salary package and investment in new players.

"We are in talks on a contract extension. There has been no decision," Magath told reporters.

Magath, who has a contract at Wolfsburg for another season, has wide-ranging powers as both the coach and manager of the club, and Schalke is reported to be ready to offer him a similar deal.

The Gelsenkirchen-based club dismissed Dutch coach Fred Rutten last month, leaving the team in the care of a trio of interim coaches, including former player Mike Buskens.

Track record

A young Felix Magath chases the ball

Magath played for Hamburg in the 1970s and 80s

Prior to joining Wolfsburg, Magath coached Bayern Munich to win the league championship and the German Cup in both the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons - an unprecedented "double double".

But Bayern fired him in mid-2007 after a slow start to the season saw the club fail to qualify for the Champions League.

Magath also coached Hamburg, Nuremberg, Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt in the mid-late 1990s. Throughout this period his reputation was that of a coaching "fireman" whom clubs called when they were in danger of relegation. That changed in 2003, when he coached VfB Stuttgart into the Champions League.

As a player, Magath represented Germany as a midfielder from 1977-1986 and won three league titles and two European Cups with his club Hamburg.

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