• Germany's news in English

DFB demands Ballack step up national team leadership

AFP · 25 Mar 2009, 17:35

Published: 25 Mar 2009 17:35 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Germany faces minnows Liechtenstein in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday in Leipzig, but after home defeats by Norway and England in their last two games, Chelsea star Ballack must lead his team to a comfortable victory, insisted Zwanziger.

"Ballack must lead from the front," Zwanziger told German magazine Sport Bild.

Ballack landed himself in hot water with the DFB last October for accusing Germany coach Joachim Löw of not showing his senior players enough respect and loyalty.

The Germany captain apologised two weeks later, but neither Ballack nor Löw came out of the episode with any credit.

With Germany at the top of their qualifying group and unbeaten four games straight, they need two big wins in their qualifiers in Leipzig this Saturday and in Cardiff on April 1 against Wales to boost flagging confidence.

"If the team play well against Liechtenstein and Wales and deliver the six points, I expect issues which have been discussed in the past will quickly fade as a topic," said Zwanziger, referring to last year's public spat between Ballack and Löw.

And it seems Ballack has been working hard behind the scenes to build bridges within the Germany squad.

"We notice in discussions and conversations Michael has changed and we see a completely positive attitude from him in the team environment," said Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff.

Bierhoff and Ballack had an on field spat immediately after the Euro 2008 final 1-0 defeat to Spain in Vienna last June, but Bierhoff has defended Ballack from recent criticism within the Germany squad.

Injured Bayern Munich striker Miroslav Klose, who has captained Germany on several occasions, said Ballack must work hard to lead both on and off the field, and Bierhoff took exception to Klose's comments.

Story continues below…

"These comments were senseless, because they do nothing to help the team, and the timing was unfortunate so close to the game," said Bierhoff.

With ten years experience of international football behind him, Ballack has said he will work with new members of the squad, but Germany need a big win over Liechtenstein – ranked 151 in the world – to boost confidence.

"It doesn't matter if we are playing Liechtenstein or Wales, the opposition is not important, we just have to win both games and get the points," said striker Lukas Podolski defiantly.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd