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‘It is fine’: Babbel seeks peace with Rudan after earlier clash

“It is fine. We apologised after this so for me it’s done. I wasn’t happy with his reaction after the game. He apologised to me and it’s normal. He [Rudan] had the strength and the mentality to say it’s a mistake, he said sorry about this,” Babbel said.

“Something happened in the past with him and JP, our assistant. He [Rudan] was thinking it was disrespectful so there was a battle between these two guys … if I am there I want to have respect because I respect everyone on the opposite side.”

The Wanderers travel to Wellington with a severely depleted squad hampered by injuries and the unavailability of three players called-up to the Olyroos squad. Babbel will be without midfielder Keanu Baccus, defender Tass Mourdoukoutas and forward Abraham Majok, who are in Cambodia on international duty while Mark Bridge has suffered another injury setback and Nick Fitzgerald is facing a race against time to prove his fitness for Sunday’s game.

Babbel was furious about losing three players for youth international games, suggesting he had never experienced such a situation in his coaching career in Germany or Switzerland.

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“This is a disaster for us. We try to bring young players into the A-League and the thanks from the league is to take the players away,” Babbel said. “Keanu Baccus was in outstanding form, he was a very important player for us, this hurts us. This is for us a disaster and a new experience for me because in Europe this is not possible in the season, the players just going away because it’s not an international break.”

The Wanderers coach questioned the value in developing youth next season if he was going to lose players for A-League games.

“You want to see young players in the A-League but we have to think twice whether we bring so many younger players here in because then there’s a period there where you can’t use them and it’s not good for the clubs or the national team,” he said.

Rashid Mahazi is set to retain his starting place in the midfield while new signing Giancarlo Gallifuoco could make his first start for his new club. German midfielder Alex Baumjohann is a strong chance to return to the Wanderers side after he was dropped for poor performances during training.

“Much better, I think he understands,” Babbel said of Baumjohann’s training this week. “I had a longer talk with him and I said this is not what yo also expect from yourself. He is too good for this. He has to work hard because now we have options for this position.”

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