Berlin: Just three weeks after being sacked by Champions League quarter-finalists Schalke 04, ex-coach Felix Magath returns to their Veltins Arena stadium on Saturday in charge of VfL Wolfsburg.
Magath, who has won league titles as coach of both Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg, was sacked by Schalke on March 16 amidst accusations of communication break-downs and over-spending.
Now he returns with relegation-threatened Wolfsburg to face the Royal Blues, who are buoyed by their stunning 5-2 Champions League win at holders Inter Milan on Tuesday which sees them on the verge of the last four in Europe.
"Of course, this is not quite the same as a match against any other former club of mine," admitted Magath with Wolfsburg two points from safety while Schalke are tenth.
"It is still a bit too close to just put it out of your mind."
Schalke's players still carry the scars of working under Magath.
"Until recently, many players lived in fear of him," Peru winger Jefferson Farfan told German magazine Sport-Bild.
But captain Manuel Neuer insists the coach issue is not a big deal.
"It is the game between Wolfsburg and Schalke, not Schalke against Magath," the 25-year-old.
"Mad" is how Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal has described the bench-hopping while German legend Franz Beckenbauer regards it as a "circus".
Magath is not the only one to change clubs quickly: his Schalke successor Ralf Rangnick walked out on Hoffenheim in January in protest after midfielder Luiz Gustavo was sold to Bayern.
The 57-year-old Magath coached Schalke from July 2009 until last month.
In his first year in charge, he steered Schalke to second in the Bundesliga, having won the German league title with Wolfsburg the season before.
He brought 13 new players to Schalke before the season started, including veteran Spain striker Raul who is enjoying an indian summer in the twilight of his career.
But Magath paid the price for a poor run of form in the German league which saw Schalke limp up to mid-table having lost their opening four Bundesliga matches.
He carries a reputation as a hard-task master on the training ground -- players have dubbed him 'Quaelix', a play on words mixing his first name and quaelen, the German word for torture.
Having been sacked by Schalke on March 16, he was welcomed back at Wolfsburg with open arms just two days later after Wolves had sacked ex-England coach Steve McClaren.
But with six games left before Saturday's game, he badly needs points at Schalke to help get the 2009 German champions out of the bottom three.