Wolfsburg’s Grafite on vacation to ‘clear head’

Defending Bundesliga champion Wolfsburg has given struggling striker Grafite a week’s vacation in his native Brazil to try and help him overcome his scoring drought.

Wolfsburg coach Armin Veh said Friday that Grafite needs to “clear his head,” and that the best way to do that is to take a clean break from football for a few days.

Grafite, last season’s top scorer in the Bundesliga with 28 goals, hasn’t hit the target now in more than five weeks. He was also sent off in his team’s 0-0 draw with Besiktas in the Champions League on Wednesday.

“It’s simply not going well for me at the moment, I need a new start. But I am sure the fans will soon see the old Grafite,” the 30-year-old Brazilian striker said on Wolfsburg’s home page before departing for Brazil.

Grafite has two goals in the Bundesliga season after nine rounds but he also has spent time of the bench after criticizing Veh and his teammates and was fined ?10,000 ($15,000).

“He needs to quickly clear his head and switch off,” Veh said. “The best way to do it is if he changes his environment for a few days.”

“He is a very emotional person who put himself under too much pressure after the successes of last season,” Veh said.

Grafite has been under fire from his coach and teammates after the undermanned Wolfsburg failed to break the stalemate against Besiktas.

“It shouldn’t have happened and he undoubtedly hurt the team,” Veh said.

While criticizing Grafite for getting sent off against Besiktas, his teammates have pledged to support him and help him shake off the slump.

“I hope, for his sake and for the sake of the entire team, that he starts scoring again soon,” said Grafite forward partner Edin Dzeko.

Grafite and Dzeko combined for a Bundesliga record 54 goals last season to help Wolfsburg win its first championship.

The Brazilian scored a hat-trick in the Champion league 3-1 opener against CSKA Moscow but did not score in the next two games.