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Thursday, September 20, 2012
Muller backs under-fire Babbel

Stephan Ueberzahl, German Correspondent

New Hoffenheim director of football Andreas Muller has backed under-fire manager Markus Babbel, despite the club sitting bottom of the Bundesliga.

Hoffenheim have lost all three of their leaue games, as well as a cup game, conceding 15 goals in the process - leading Babbel to step down as director of football to focus solely on his managerial role.

But Muller, who has taken over from his former Germany team-mate, has hinted he has not joined the club to fire the manager.

"We have the same way of thinking about football, and that's why I am in a positive mood regarding our future," he said.

But Babbel is well aware that despite this public backing, as well as a vote of confidence from club patron Dietmar Hopp earlier this week, he will need to get results if he wants to stay in his job.

"To get the vote of confidence, was very good but I also know the business," he said.

Muller has signed a deal with the club until 2014, becoming the third director of football after Babbel took over from Ernst Tanner in February.

Former Schalke director of football Muller stepped down from his role as executive of player agency Goalsky AG, where he was in charge for Bundesliga players Jan Moravek and Dominic Maroh.

During his time with Schalke, Muller had been one of the best buyers from another player agency, Rogon, whose boss Roger Wittmann is one of the influential friends of Hopp.

Several papers in Germany have mentioned the connection between Rogon, Hoffenheim, Hopp and Muller, while some Hoffenheim supporters have spoken of a conspiracy.

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