Babbel eyes Bayern scalp
VfB Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel, with two wins from his first two league games in charge, is looking to take arguably the biggest scalp in the Bundesliga when his side host Bayern Munich on Saturday.
Babbel, who won Euro 96 with Germany as a player, succeeded Armin Veh as Stuttgart coach nearly three weeks ago in his first role as head coach and his side have beaten both Schalke 04 and Energie Cottbus since his appointment.
Defending champions Bayern are next up for Stuttgart, under coach Jurgen Klinsmann, and Munich have dropped only four points from a possible 30 in their last ten games and are unbeaten since September.
Klinsmann and Babbel played together at Bayern in the '90s and are still close friends, but that will all be forgotten for 90 minutes on Saturday.
A win for Bayern would put them top of the table with league leaders Hoffenheim playing Schalke on Sunday.
"That is not a Klinsmann against Babbel duel," insisted the Stuttgart boss. "It is a special game, but we are only interested in the three points, just like we were against Cottbus.
"For me it is just important that the result confirms our performance."
Bayern secured an impressive 3-2 Champions League win at Lyon on Wednesday and Babbel has had his side train behind closed doors to prepare for battle.
Stuttgart are hoping to have Germany striker Mario Gomez back from a calf strain which kept him out of the win over Cottbus.
Bayern have few injury problems although the trio of Lukas Podolski, Ze Roberto and Lucio, who all missed the win in Lyon were back in training on Thursday.
Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen have a chance to close the three-point gap behind Munich and Hoffenheim when they play bottom three side Energie Cottbus on Saturday.
VfL Wolfsburg take on Werder Bremen with coach Felix Magath having copped a 10,000 euros (13,265 euros) fine from the German football federation (DFB) on Thursday having been banished to the stand last month when his side hammered Stuttgart.
Bremen are without striker Claudio Pizarro who was shown a red card against Karlsruhe last weekend, while midfielder Diego also picked up a ban from the German Football Federation (DFB) disciplinary committee for grabbing an opponent by the throat in the same game.
High-flying Hertha Berlin are looking to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat by Schalke last weekend when they host Karlsruhe.
In Saturday's other games fifth-placed Hamburg take on midtable Eintracht Frankfurt, Hanover host Arminia Bielefeld and VfL Bochum are home to Cologne.