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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
Read

Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
Read
By ESPN Staff

Babbel extends deal as Vfb Stuttgart manager

Markus Babbel is to remain as coach of Stuttgart until 2010, the Bundesliga club have announced.

The 36-year-old had his contract extended by a year after the German Football Association (DFB) accepted his application to enrol in their next coaching course, which starts this summer.

It is a stipulation of Babbel being able to work for the Swabian club that he completes the 10-month course, which means he will be absent from training each week from Monday to Wednesday.

But this does not worry director of sport Horst Heldt.

"The contracts of Markus Babbel and (assistant coach) Rainer Widmayer will run in any case up to 2010," he said at a press conference today.

However, Heldt did not rule out the possibility of their partnership ending prematurely if the strains of the coaching course, which takes place in Cologne, get too much for Babbel.

"It is possible we may notice in December that it isn't working, but both coaches need security," he added.

Babbel has promised to give it his best shot, claiming he is "still young and fit" to cope with the extra travelling and studying.

"We had a good talk and came to the conclusion that it is going to work out," he said. "That means I can do it.

"I am really happy about it, even if it does mean a tough time approaching for me and my family."

Babbel's assistant Widmayer will take charge of the team for the first half of the week with Babbel then preparing them for their weekend Bundesliga matches.

The pair have been a success so far, leading Stuttgart into the top five with only one defeat since taking over in November.

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