Despite being somewhat of a comedown after the high of European qualification, relative to the league Wolfsburg were performing precisely as expected - yo yoing between 6th and 9th - and instead it was two clubs from opposite ends of the German footballing ecosystem that had dominated conversation: newly-promoted 1899 Hoffenheim stunned Germany by being top at Christmas, powered by the goals of Vedad Ibišević and Demba Ba, while it appeared Bayern Munich were still struggling with the summer loss club legends Ottmar Hitzfeld and Oliver Kahn in several unconvincing performances under new manager Jürgen Klinsmann.
What followed is now sewn into the tapestry of German football folklore. After snatching a 1-1 draw at FC Köln via a long-range Grafite effort in their first match back from the winter break, Wolfsburg embarked on a thrilling ten-match winning streak that saw Magath’s side enter something of a collective flow state.
The “magic triangle” of Misimović, Džeko and Grafite accumulated 22 goals 13 assists between them in a superlative run of form that peaked in a 5-1 evisceration of Bayern at home. In a game memorable for all kinds of things, Grafite would round off a ludicrous fourteen-minute spell - in which Wolfsburg scored four - by scoring a solo goal of such quality that idiosyncratic German commentator Gritz von Thurn und Taxis was compelled to describe it as, “definitely the goal of the season, if not the best goal I have ever seen since the Bundesliga started in 1963”.
It was a clear career highlight for Grafite - a powerful, precise number 9, - who had not taken the gilded route to Europe so many Brazilian strikers do and only eight years earlier had been forced to sell bin-bags door-to-door in order to make a living.
A shock 2-0 defeat against second-bottom Energie Cottbus with five games to go would provide Die Wölfe a sobering reality check, although they remained top on account of their two closest challengers, Schalke and Bayern, playing against each other. A game notable for being Jürgen Klinsmann’s last in charge at the Allianz Arena.
Wolfsburg took heed of their wake-up call and as was typical of Magath’s teams at the time, finished strongly, winning four of their last five and refusing to relinquish the top spot they had gained on that day against Bayern, sealing the title by two points (from Bayern) with another 5-1 victory at the Volkswagen Arena, against Werder Bremen. Grafite finished the season with 28 goals in 25 starts, ahead of partner Edin Džeko on 26, with the two breaking the Bundesliga record for the most prolific strike partnership - set by Gerd Müller and Uli Hoeness in 1971/72 - by a single goal. Of those 54, 13 had been assisted by Misimović, who would record a league-high 20 in total.