It is very likely that Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel may be out of the job after the forthcoming weekend. He received the dreaded vote of confidence after their 1-0 defeat to improving Hannover 96 last Saturday but the club's Sporting Director Horst Heldt made it clear that he was looking for a response against the 2 Bundesliga side Greuther Furth in the German Cup (DFB Pokal) on Tuesday. He didn't get one. With a largely unchanged side, Stuttgart were defeated 1-0 and are out of the Cup.
The Reds didn't start last season too well either and Armin Vey last his job as a consequence. However they did win half of their first ten matches in the 2008/09 Bundesliga campaign. This season they have only won two league games in the first eleven and have lost their last five matches in all competitions. Their Champions League campign is in tatters and they are effectively joint second from bottom of the Bundesliga sharing points with 'Gladbach, Nurnberg and Bochum. Babbel is a young and inexperienced coach and people may argue that he needs more time but if recent history is any judge, he will not get it. He has received muted backing from the board this morning (Thursday) but their next game is at home to the unpredictable Bayern Munich. Lose that game and surely it's curtains for Babbel.
Bayern themselves are not exactly having a great time of things and their coach Louis van Gaal needs a convincing result on Saturday to keep on Uli Hoeness' good side. They squeezed past Frankfurt in the league last weekend only to be confronted by them once again in the cup last night. This time the going was much easier and the Bavarians ran Eintracht Frankfurt into the ground with a 4-0 win. Miro Klose scored a brace along with Tommy Muller and Luca Toni who is returning to fitness.
While Stuttgart's cup exit is bad because it is part of a broader context. Dortmund's 3-2 defeat to Third Division Osnabruck was more of an up front embarrassment. A late goal by Lucas Barrios added a veneer of respectability to the result but no-one should be fooled into believing that it was anything less than a convincing win. Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp certainly isn't and was fulsome in his praise of Osnabruck after the match. The good news for Dortmund fans is that Barrios keeps scoring. His consolation was his fourth in four matches following on from BVB's 0-0 draw with Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen last weekend.
There will be a another lower division team in the quarter final draw thanks to the all-second division clash between Duisberg and Augsberg, the latter winning the game 5-0. Apart from that the rest of the round was free of upsets. Hoffenheim hammered Koblenz 4-0 which brings their goal tally to seven games in two after beating Nurnberg at the weekend. Koln could only manage a goalless draw with 'Gladbach at the weekend but are safely through in the cup at the expense of Trier. Bremen are in no mood to take any jip from anyone right now. They thrashed Bochum 4-1 on Sunday and went slightly easier on Kaiserslautern last night, only winning 3-0.
While the news from Schalke's accountants is grim, on the pitch things are looking up for the Royal Blues. A pulsating 3-3 draw with Hamburg (including a last gasp equaliser from Kevin Kuranyi), pegged the League leaders back and keeps them in contention in the Bundesliga. They are also still in the cup thanks to a 3-0 win at 1860 Munich.
It was a quiet mid-week for Wolfsburg and Hertha. Last week I suggested that the only way the Berliners would improve is by dragging the opposition down to their level. Given that they held the Champions to a 0-0 draw last weekend, it looks like they are doing just that.
That's it. Results and tables here.