And the new coach of the fubball-bundesliga club from north baden has not yet been able to show his winning style in the numerous draws at home and most recently in a 1:7 defeat at babbel’s former club FC bayern. "I believe a lot is possible here," the 39-year-old says again and again, praising his "highly talented team".
But since ralf rangnick, the father of the phenomenal upswing at hoffenheim, no one has really been able to get to grips with that. The "fubball professor" rangnick once enjoyed a great deal of respect around the rhein-neckar arena in sinsheim and the training center in zuzenhausen. His short-term successor marco pezzaiuoli has almost been forgotten. The supporters quickly took the warm-hearted holger stanislawski to their hearts and didn’t want to give him away again. But the experiment with the man from FC st. Pauli, who was supposed to finally give hoffenheim a people’s touch, has failed.
And now for 10. February markus babbel: enormously self-confident, experienced, often business-mabby. Not emotional like stanislawski, not quiet like pezzaiuoli, not feverish like rangnick. Whether it was his life’s ambition to become a coach at FC bayern munich at some point was a question posed to him by the trade magazine kicker. He doesn’t see it that doggedly, said babbel. "To become a candidate there, you have to have done a really good job beforehand."
With his working style, babbel does not fall into the category of young football-obsessed coaches like thomas tuchel of FSV mainz 05. He lets the tough dog out already and sets a punishment training as after the gossip in munchen. And he has his tactics fox: co-trainer rainer widmayer. The boss himself, he explained in the "frankfurter allgemeine sonntagszeitung," doesn’t like to push men back and forth at the board. "I want to give the players simple things to internalize," babbel said. The old medicine ball did the same. "I’m not playing the fubball professor, because that’s not who i am."
Babbel says this with a broad chest: his 51 international matches, his european championship title in 1996 and his time primarily with FC bayern and FC liverpool were a pound of gold when he entered the coaching business. When he was promoted from armin veh’s assistant to head coach at vfb stuttgart, he ultimately failed due to the double burden of his bundesliga job and coaching course in koln. With hertha BSC, he rose to the top of the first division and left at the end of the season after a fierce public dispute with manager michael preetz over his departure.
Just like at hertha, where he was nicknamed "minibar berliner," babbel now lives in a hotel – in heidelberg. The 1899 coach doesn’t want to drive his wife silke and daughters giulia and sienna, who live in munich, out of their environment at every coaching stop. His contract at hoffenheim runs until 2014, and his task is a balancing act: between the savings course of mazen dietmar hopp and the still high expectations of the 2008 autumn champions, something sensible is to come out of it in sporting terms.
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