Ballack and Frings recalled to face Norway
Chelsea star Michael Ballack and Bremen's Torsten Frings have both been recalled to the Germany squad to face Norway in a friendly next Wednesday, but there is no place for striker Lukas Podolski.
Frings's Werder team-mate Mesut Özil, 20, has been called up for the first time as has Hoffenheim's Andreas Beck, while Borussia Mönchengladbach teenager Marko Marin is in line to win his fifth cap against Norway.
Veteran Frings is back after being dropped from the starting side for the World Cup qualifiers against Russia and Wales last October which led to captain Ballack stating senior players deserve more respect and loyalty from coach Joachim Löw. Ballack's comments sparked a public row with Löw, but the matter was later resolved after the Chelsea midfielder apologised.
Neither player was selected to face England in last November's friendly, which Fabio Capello's side won 2-1 at Berlin's Olympic Stadium, as Ballack was injured and Frings was not considered.
Meanwhile, after some impresive performances for Bremen, Özil had to choose between Germany and Turkey, from where his family comes from, and the Germany Under-21 star was delighted with his promotion to die Mannschaft.
"I am pleased about the invitation and hope to take my chance in the German national team," said Özil on the German Football Federation (DFB) website. "I know it is the correct choice."
He said the decision was not an easy one to make, because of his family roots, but it was not a rejection of his heritage.
"My family is now the third generation in Germany and I have always felt my chance lay with the DFB," he said. "So I hope I can continue my success with the Germany Under-21 team at the European Championships in Sweden this summer."
Loew had been waiting to see if Özil would opt to play for Germany and the pair spoke last Friday.
"The Turkish federation have been trying to win over Mesut recently and he was in a difficult situation," said Löw. "We understood and had to wait until he decided who he wants to play for. In a telephone call with me last Friday, he told me he wants to play for the Germany team."
Löw said Özil will get playing time as a midfielder against Norway.
As well as midfielders Frings and Ballack, Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm is also back in the squad after injury, while Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling has earned a re-call.
Kiessling's only international match appearance was in March 2007 against Denmark in the 1-0 defeat at Duisburg.
"Stefan has played very well so far in the Bundesliga and has earned his chance," said Löw.
But there is no place in the Germany squad for Bayern's Lukas Podolski, who is third-choice striker at Munich and has struggled with a back injury and illness this season.
"The qualities of Lukas are undisputed and he played very well for the national team last year," said Löw. "We want to give him time to get his form back and this game was too early for him. We hope he will be back for the World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Wales in Cardiff later this season."
Rene Adler (Bayer Leverkusen), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen)
Andreas Beck (Hoffenheim), Arne Friedrich (Hertha Berlin), Andreas Hinkel
(Celtic Glasgow/SCO), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Werder
Bremen), Serdar Tasci (Stuttgart), Heiko Westermann (Schalke 04).
Michael Ballack (Chelsea/ENG), Torsten Frings (Werder Bremen), Thomas
Hitzlsperger (Stuttgart), Marko Marin (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Mesut Özil
(Werder Bremen), Simon Rolfes (Bayer Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger
(Bayern Munich), Piotr Trochowski (Hamburg)
Mario Gomez (Stuttgart), Patrick Helmes (Bayer Leverkusen), Stefan
Kiessling (Bayer Leverkusen), Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich)