Freiburg - 1899 Hoffenheim have appointed Andreas Müller as their new sporting director. He takes over from Markus Babbel, who has relinquished the post in order to focus fully on his coaching duties.
Opportunity lost at Freiburg
Müller, 49, was sporting director of Schalke 04 from 2006 to 2009, after having racked up 338 Bundesliga appearances for VfB Stuttgart, Hannover 96 and Schalke as a player.
"I enjoyed the job, but the additional work-load was excessively high and I realised that I'm simply better-suited to coaching. So at the start of the season I asked the club to step up the search for a sporting director. And I'm delighted they found such an excellent solution in the form of Andreas Müller," said Babbel, who had held both posts since March. Andreas Müller will take up his new role this week, with his official unveiling earmarked for Thursday.
Out on the pitch meanwhile, the team's 5-3 loss at SC Freiburg on Matchday 3 leaves them standed at he bottom of the table, still without a point. Babbel's side looked sharp enough in the forward department for much of the game at the MAGE SOLAR Stadium, but delivered up another very shaky defensive performance. "We had the chance to move up the table, but we wasted it," Swiss international frontman Eren Derdiyok acknowledged.
For much of the contest the visitors looked like they were good for at least a point after making a highly promising start, defender Matthieu Delpierre scoring the opener after only two minutes. Boris Vukcevic and Takashi Usami then twice hauled 1899 level again fairly late on in a see-saw encounter, prompting Babbel to underscore afterwards how his team had shown "the morale to battle back twice."
The former FC Bayern and Liverpool defender did conceded however that, "There was a period in the game where I felt we could achieve more." That said, Hoffenheim could easily have conceded one or two more goals themselves towards the end, after Freiburg had gone in front again. "We totally lacked orientation [in the final minutes]," the coach analysed, adding that his team would have to be more focused when defending.
Inconsistency all round
Despite Freiburg 's five-goal tally Babbel defended goalkeeper Tim Wiese, stressing that in principle, "We don't criticize in public. But we do have to mark the opposition forwards more effectively, in order to better protect the keeper. At this level, you get punished for the kind of mistakes we're making."
Even so, the 40-year-old tactician also saw positives in his side's performance, noting, "I'd be in trouble if we'd had no chance in this match." In the same vein Derdiyok, one of many Hoffenheim players to turn in an inconsistent shift, said: "The whole team have to be more focused. We'll start moving up the table once we start making less mistakes." Hoffenheim's next opportunity to do so comes against Hannover 96 on Sunday.