After struggling to hold down a first-team birth, the right-back moved to German rivals Hamburg where he flourished as a marauding full-back and a solid defender.
It was his impressive performances for Hamburg that forced Bayern Munich to negotiate a transfer for Babbel which meant that the German would move back to the capital. One hundred and seventy appearances later, after some eye-catching performances at Euro 96, Markus Babbel was rated highly around Europe. Only last minute problems prevented the full-back from making a £5m move to Manchester United.
Babbel finally got his move to England in June 2000 when Gerard Houllier brought him to Liverpool just in time for the defender to play his part in a treble winning season for the Reds.
However, in the summer of 2001 Babbel contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome, an illness which made the German wheelchair bound and the defender was unable to participate for Liverpool for a whole year.
After returning from his life-threatening illness, Babbel went on loan to Blackburn Rovers where he turned out 25 times for the Lancashire outfit before returning to Germany to play for Stuttgart for the final three years of his career.
Babbel retired in 2007 and became Stuttgart’s assistant manager for 12 months until he was offered the manager’s job. After 13 months as Stuttgart boss Babbel parted ways with the club and is currently in charge of Hertha Berlin in Germany’s second division, a league in which, under the guidance of Babbel, Hertha Berlin top.
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