MARKUS Babbel has bowed out of the race to be Millwall's next manager.
The German applied for the post just days after Kenny Jackett resigned and was shortlisted by the Lions board last week.
Some reports had claimed he was a shoe-in to get the job and that his appointment at The Den was a mere formality.
But a source close to the 40-year-old has revealed that the former Bayern Munich star had to cancel his interview with the board because he was on holiday with his family in Hungary.
And despite being sacked by TSG 1899 Hoffenheim last December, Babbel is still under contract with the Bundesliga side – so a deal to take him to South London would have been legally complex, and potentially expensive.
Millwall are now eager to make a swift appointment, having taken a patient approach in recent weeks, and so have decided against pursuing their interest in Babbel.
The source added: "Markus had an opportunity to meet with Millwall last weekend but, because he was away with his family, this was not possible. Whether they will call him again, I don't know. It was a shame the timings did not work out."
Babbel, who has also been shortlisted for the vacant position at FC Koln, in the German second division, declined to comment on his future when contacted on Wednesday evening.
But he admitted last week that his "battery is charged" again following six months out of work and his interest in the SE16 hotseat was believed to have been genuine.
The Lions have narrowed down a pool of six candidates to a final shortlist of two or three and are hoping to appoint a new manager by early next week.