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Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Babbel reveals Hoffenheim regrets

Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

Former Hoffenheim head coach Markus Babbel has admitted targeting Europe might have cost him his job.

Babbel was sacked on Monday, a day after a 4-1 defeat to Werder Bremen, Hoffenheim's ninth defeat of the season. In all they have conceded 36 goals in 15 games already this term.

"[The] Europa League is a realistic target," Babbel told 11 Freunde before the season. "It is now important to bond and together believe we can reach that goal. I am certain, our fans will have a reason to celebrate at the end."

A few days later Babbel's team was on the wrong side of a 4-0 defeat to fourth-tier team Berliner AK in the first round of the DFB Pokal.

"It was important to me to fill the club with life," Babbel told Sport Bild following his sacking. "To wake up the club. Looking back you can say 'Babbel was a loudmouth'  that's fine with me."

Ahead of the season Babbel had brought in former Germany goalkeeper Tim Wiese from Werder Bremen and made him skipper. Before his dismissal this week, Babbel replaced Wiese with reserve keeper Koen Casteels.

"During the week I considered a change," Babbel told Sky after Hoffenheim's defeat to Leverkusen, the first match for Belgium Under-21 keeper Casteels. "Sadly, Tim picked up an injury and took that decision off me.

"It was downhill from day one. Tim had other expectations, and underestimated a few things. For seven, eight years he was the king in Bremen. He has to open himself up. He should not wallow in self-pity now."

Meanwhile in Hoffenheim the search for a new coach is still on. Reserve coach Frank Kramer has taken over until the winter break but other, more illustrious names are already being discussed.

Germany assistant coach Hansi Flick, whose name had been floating around, told Bild on Wednesday: "I am under contract with DFB until 2014. With the World Cup we've got a great task ahead of us. That's why this is not a question."

According to Sky former Netherlands boss Bert van Marwijk, 60, is on the list. On Sunday Van Marwijk had played down the rumors.

"I cannot talk about a job, when there is still someone with that job," he told Sky.

Another name that has been mentioned by insiders is former Germany international Lothar Matthaus. The former World Player of the Year has been looking for a job back in German club football ever since his was sacked by Bulgaria last year.

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