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Stuttgart have appointed Markus Babbel as their new coach following the dismissal on Sunday of Armin Veh.

“It was a huge, but joyful surprise to find out I am coach,” said former Liverpool and Bayern Munich defender Babbel.

“It is a difficult phase at the same time, but the team has potential.

“It is now my job to work to the team’s strengths, but it will not be an easy task.”

Babbel was appointed assistant manager at Stuttgart last season, working with the reserves side, before discovering this weekend he had been promoted to first team manager.

“I still need to fill out some forms and send them away for my coaching diploma,” admitted the 36-year-old.

“It is something I have to do as I see my future in this business.

“I have already learned so much from Armin Veh and I will work closely with Rainer.”

Veh took over at Stuttgart in February 2006 and led the team to the Bundesliga title in May 2007 – with Babbel in the side.

But Stuttgart finished sixth in the league last season while Saturday’s 4-1 defeat by Wolfsburg was their fifth away loss this term to leave them mid-table.

“There are great, but also difficult hours in football and after discussions with coach Armin Veh last night, we came to the decision we need a change,” said club president Erwin Staudt on the club website.

“Armin Veh and assistant coach Alfons Higl have been released.

“This was a difficult decision, because we are grateful for what they have done for the club over the last three years.

“I spoke to the team this morning and made it clear that everyone must now work to their full potential.

“The leaving of Armin Veh does not create an excuse for the players.

“I expect each and everyone of them will concentrate on the task in hand.”

It’s another huge week of Champions League action and we’ve got BestPrice odds on every match in our dedicated Champions League section.

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