As they prepare for their UEFA Cup last-32 meeting with Middlesbrough FC, VfB Stuttgart have agreed a one-year contract extension with Markus Babbel.
The former German international defender is now under contract until the summer of 2007, although he has yet to establish himself as a regular starter under the club's Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni, making just four appearances in the Bundesliga this season.
Nonetheless, sporting director Horst Heldt was quick to pay tribute to Babbel. "Markus is an exemplary professional and we are glad that he will be part of our squad next season," said Heldt.
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