Markus Babbel succeeded Armin Veh as Stuttgart coach in 2008.
Markus Babbel succeeded Armin Veh as Stuttgart coach in 2008.

"Even the wind can knock us down at the moment"

One day after his side's catastrophic 4-0 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen, VfB Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel gave his charges a real dressing down during a rain-soaked morning training session.

"We're all hugely disappointed by the Leverkusen match. The team created their own problems," said Babbel, who did not travel to Köln as is normal on a Monday morning.

Babbel makes a point of coming to training

"I made a point of coming to training this week because I want to sort things out. I didn't want the team to have the excuse that the manager wasn't there. All of us need to recognise the gravity of the situation we're in."

Instead of the normal Monday morning warm-down, Babbel had prepared an intensive session for his troops. First up was a fierce match with four small goals with plenty of tussles and sliding around. Later on came some sprint exercises.

"This is about the club"

"I'll be looking at everyone very closely in training and making sure everyone is giving 100 per cent," said the 37-year-old, who was quick to the point regarding his side's current position of 17th in the Bundesliga: "Even the wind can knock us down at the moment. The results have been catastrophic. We need points - and fast. The situation is getting more and more difficult. It's not about Markus Babbel or the team, this is about the club!"

VfB host 16th-placed VfL Bochum next Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena. "We need to get the basics right: energy, fight, commitment, will, passion - back-heels and nifty flicks aren't going to get us out of our current predicament!"

The fact that the hardcore Stuttgart fans made their feelings known after the ill-fated trip to Leverkusen came as no surprise to Babbel: "I can understand the fans' frustration. They took the trouble to travel Leverkusen and, just as they did in Glasgow, were brilliant in their support."