Babbel on thin ice
VfB Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel's position is on thin ice after the Bundesliga club suffered a 1-0 shock defeat on Tuesday in the third round of the German Cup at second division Greuther Fuerth.
Babbel was given a vote of confidence by Stuttgart's bosses only last week, but with his side now suffering their fifth consecutive defeat and hovering above the relegation zone in the league, Babbel's position is precarious.
"We wanted to win here and reach the next round, which we haven't done and the situation is not easy now," said Stuttgart's director of sport Horst Heldt when asked about Babbel's position.
And Babbel is realistic about his situation.
"I do not know where I stand with the club now," he admitted.
"If I hate one thing, it is to lose, but now we have five consecutive defeats - this is a bitter and difficult situation.
"It is not getting easier, but I still believe in this team."
Stuttgart went behind on 32 minutes through midfielder Bernd Nehrig after team-mate Leonhard Haas Ein found him with a pin-point accurate pass and the 23-year-old's shot gave former Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann no chance.
With his job on the line, Babbel brought Russian play-maker Aliaksandr Hleb off the bench after 59 minutes, but the ex-Barcelona star only earned himself a yellow card on 70 minutes.
With time running out, both Romanian striker Ciprian Marica and 20-year-old replacement forward Julian Schieber went close, but could not prevent Stuttgart from slipping out of the German Cup, while Fuerther are in the quarter-finals.
At the final whistle, Stuttgart's senior players like Germany midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger were left shattered on the turf while second division Fuerth's players celebrated.
But fellow Bundesliga outfit Cologne had no such problems as they saw off regional league side Eintracht Trier with a comfortable 3-0 away win to take their place in the last eight.
Also on Tuesday in the other third round matches, Bundesliga side Dortmund are at Osnabrueck while Augsburg are home to Duisburg.