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By ESPN Staff

Magath quits Wolfsburg to join Schalke

Felix Magath has been appointed as the new coach of Bundesliga side Schalke after mutually agreeing to end his contract with Wolfsburg at the end of the season.

The Gelsenkirchen club confirmed this afternoon Magath has signed a four-year contract with them beginning on July 1.

The 55-year-old has been at the centre of intense speculation over the last week linking him with a move to Schalke and, after a meeting with the Wolfsburg management today, it was confirmed his contract will be terminated this summer.

Magath will fill the dual role of manager and coach of the Royal Blues with both positions having been vacated recently by Andreas Muller and Fred Rutten, who were sacked.

Magath took over at Wolfsburg in 2007, agreeing a contract until 2010 and laying out his plans to lead the club into Europe within three years.

He achieved that at the first attempt, leading the Lower Saxony club into the UEFA Cup by virtue of their fifth-placed finish in the Bundesliga last season.

And they are on course to do even better this term as they currently lead the Bundesliga by three points from Bayern Munich with four matches of the season remaining.

Magath, who won back-to-back league and cup doubles with Bayern before being sacked in January 2007, was free to join Schalke after activating a clause in his contract which enabled him to leave the Wolves one year early.

"We have reached the goals we set ourselves far quicker than how we had planned them together when I took over here in the summer of 2007," said Magath in a statement earlier today.

"The team is young, can still be improved and has (players with) good prospects who remain bound to the club."

Wolfsburg chairman Hans Dieter Potsch thanked Magath for the work he had done in advance of what could be the greatest achievement of any coach in the club's history.

The Wolves have never finished higher than fifth in the top flight of German football, the record Magath set last season, and a maiden Bundesliga title could become reality over the next few weeks.

"We must warmly thank Mr Magath, already four games before the end of the season, for the development he has initiated over the past two years," said Potsch.

"Within a short period of time, he has achieved an extraordinary sporting success with VfL.

"We wish him all the best for his future."

Schalke's management "overwhelmingly agreed" to appoint Magath and also offer him a place on their board.

He will take over preparations for next season from the current coaching trio of Mike Buskens, Youri Mulder and Oliver Reck, whose own futures at the club now hang in the balance.

Magath is expected to bring his long-term assistant Seppo Eichkorn with him.

Before Magath switches allegiances, he will be aiming to win his third Bundesliga title.

Wolfsburg face Stuttgart, Borussia Dortmund, Hannover and Werder Bremen in their remaining four matches and need three wins to be crowned 2009 Bundesliga champions.


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