Hertha's Favre to fight on

Hertha Berlin coach Lucien Favre has vowed to fight on despite their already disappointing season taking a turn for the worse on Wednesday night.

Hertha, who are bottom of the Bundesliga table following five consecutive league defeats, were dumped out of the DFB Pokal on penalties by second division side 1860 Munich.

Asked if he should quit, Favre responded, "Why should I? A lot of the fans still like me."

Speaking about a defeat last season, he defiantly added: "After losing at home to Cottbus everybody was writing about the end of the Swiss experiment in at Hertha and I am still here."

Stuttgart are sweating on the fitness of Jens Lehmann after the veteran goalkeeper was forced to pull out of training on Tuesday. The 39-year-old former Germany keeper was forced on to the sidelines with an injury which the club's medical department described as 'a thoracic vertebrae blockage'.

"Jens had a similar problem in the past," explained club doctor Raymond Best. "We are confident that he will be free of pain again soon and that he will promptly be able to return to full team training."

Lehmann will undergo further medical examinations on Wednesday before the full extent of the injury is confirmed.

Elsewhere, Brazilian midfielder Ze Roberto has challenged his Hamburg team-mates to set their sights on winning the Bundesliga title this season.

The veteran former Bayern Munich man has played a key role in the unbeaten start to the season which has left Bruno Labbadia's side at the top of the fledgling table.

"Hamburg must think big for the future," declared the South American. "A team like Bayern Munich want to win the Bundesliga title every season. That should be our target as well.

"I want to win the league title this year already. I feel like we have a good chance to win the Bundesliga if we continue like this."

Meanwhile, Hamburg have handed a trial to free agent Poland striker Ebi Smolarek. The 28-year-old international frontman is available on a free transfer after leaving former club Racing Santander at the end of last season. Smolarek had spent last season on loan in the Premier League with Bolton Wanderers. The former Borussia Dortmund striker scored 25 goals in 81 Bundesliga appearances between 2005 and 2007.

Hamburg are looking to fill the void created by Paolo Guerrero's serious knee injury.

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When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
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He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
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