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Ballack urged to retire from national team

Injured Germany captain Michael Ballack has been urged to retire from international football by Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeneß and forget about leading the national team at Euro 2012.

Ballack urged to retire from national team
Photo: DPA

Ballack damaged ankle ligaments playing for Chelsea in last month’s FA Cup final and will miss the World Cup in South Africa with Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm captaining the side in his absence.

The 33-year-old Ballack has said he intends on playing on until at least the next European Championships to be held in Poland and the Ukraine, but Hoeneß has advised him to realise now is the time to quit.

“Even if he is a little bitter, you have to recognise when enough is enough,” said Hoeneß, who won 35 caps for Germany in the 1970s, in German magazine Sport Bild.

“I don’t think it is wise to see the European Championships of 2012 as a major objective.”

Hoeneß said Ballack’s bitter disappointment of missing his third World Cup finals is understandable, but does not see Euro 2012 as an enticing proposition, especially as Ballack will be nearly 35.

“If it were a World Cup, I would understand it,” said Hoeneß. “But Euro 2012 in Poland and the Ukraine is not exactly the sort of dream event which keeps me awake at night with excitement.”

But Ballack, who played for Bayern Munich before joining Chelsea, seems to be set on returning to football once he has got over his injury.

“In the new season, I’ll be back to playing again,” said Ballack. “I must come back healthy, that’s the most important thing. The injury could well be a motivation to set the Euro 2012 as my new goal. I don’t want pity, I just want to look ahead.”

Germany’s team manager Oliver Bierhoff has backed Ballack to return to lead Germany at Euro 2012.

“Euro 2012 for him is certainly feasible. Age is not important, “said Bierhoff, who played 70 times for Germany and played in the 2002 World Cup final at the age of 34.

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MUNICH

Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.

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