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Wolfsburg forward Helmes exiled to play with reserves


BERLIN (Reuters) -- Former Germany international Patrick Helmes has been expelled from Wolfsburg's first team and sent to train with the reserves after disappointing defensive work, coach Felix Magath said on Thursday.

The 27-year-old, whose contract runs to 2014, joined the Bundesliga club in January in the hope of regaining his Germany place after failing to hold down a starting position at Bayer Leverkusen.

"I have decided to release him for the amateur team," coach Felix Magath told reporters. "His strong points are scoring and converting his chances. These are not the qualities that we have to push to the forefront right now.

"He has not learned to do defensive work. At this moment he can be of no help to us," said Magath, known for his tough training and discipline regime.

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In September Magath forced Helmes, who has scored two league goals this season for the former champions, to train alone for a week to catch up on his fitness.

Wolfsburg are 13th after 12 games.