Markus Babbel: “We don't want to sugarcoat anything”

At 17.30 CET on Sunday, Bayer 04 Leverkusen are the visitors to the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena in Sinsheim. TSG are looking to defy their bad record against Leverkusen (one draw and seven defeats) and stop the recent downward trend. Manager Markus Babbel is being realistic about the upcoming fixtures, but also remains optimistic: “We don't want to sugarcoat anything. We know that it's a sticky situation that we find ourselves in. We've also got a week ahead of us that could send us in the right direction. We have to be alert from the word go”, said the TSG manager in his press conference on Friday.

The manager has urged his side to have focus, concentration and the right mentality to recover the points his side have lost by beating the supposed difficult opponents. Markus Babbel said about Leverkusen: “They've got a huge amount of quality. We have to be very attentive because they have good individual players.” Leverkusen are currently in fifth place, sitting just two points behind second spot in the Bundesliga.

Sporting director Andreas Müller is also asking for the quality of his side to shine through: “The team goes into each game fully focussed. We've got faith in our boys, but consistency comes from hard work. The lads have to show what they can do on the pitch.” Müller is hoping for another increase in fan support: “Obviously not having a full stadium is an economic issue for us, but it's more of an issue for the players when there are say 20,000 instead of 30,000 fans there to support them. But it's the team's job to bring people back to the stadium with passionate and successful football.”

There are a few personnel problems for TSG to deal with. Chris (muscle tear) is still in fitness training and, along with Jannik Vestergaard (knee) and Stefan Thesker (bone oedema), Filip Malbasic is missing after suffering a compression of a vertebral joint during this week's friendly. There are still question marks surrounding Eren Derdiyok and Sven Schipplock who are battling with adductor problems, but were able to take part in team training on Friday. Marvin Compper is available for selection following his one-match suspension.

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