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October 29, 2009

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Pressure mounts on Babbel after Stuttgart flops

VFB Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel's future at the club was unclear on Tuesday after its surprise German Cup exit against second division Greuther Fuerth.

Stuttgart, one of the pre-season Bundesliga favorites, has been disappointing so far, lying in 14th place in the league. Babbel, in his first full season in charge, is under mounting pressure.

"We now have five straight defeats," he told reporters after its 0-1 loss to Fuerth. "This is bitter and a very difficult situation and it is not getting easier. I do not know what the club's position is regarding myself."

Stuttgart publicly backed him after its 1-0 defeat by Hanover 96 in the league on Saturday. The former Bayern Munich and Liverpool defender took over midway last season to steer the club to a surprise third place finish and a Champions League spot.

But this season, with top striker Mario Gomez joining Bayern, Stuttgart has been disappointing, collecting only eight points from 10 games in the league.

Third division VfL Osnabrueck caused another upset when it beat Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund 3-2 to book a spot in the last eight.


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