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Ballack to remain Germany team captain

AFP · 1 Sep 2010, 13:25

Published: 01 Sep 2010 13:25 GMT+02:00

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Ballack, 33, has been dropped for the first two games against Belgium in Brussels on Friday and Azerbaijan at home four days later as he continues his recovery from the ankle injury that kept him out of the World Cup.

"In the last few days, I have had an open and honest discussion with Michael Ballack, which lasted two hours, and I have decided that he will remain captain," said Löw in a press conference in Frankfurt.

With Germany now bidding for a place at Euro 2012, to be held in the Ukraine and Poland, Philipp Lahm will be the temporary national captain until Ballack returns from injury.

In Ballack's absence, Bayern Munich defender Lahm, 26, captained Germany to third in South Africa at the World Cup, sweeping aside England 4-1 and Argentina 4-0 before losing to eventual winners Spain in the semi-finals.

Ballack is expected to return for Euro 2012 qualifiers against Turkey and Kazakhstan in October, but needs to prove his fitness with Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.

"He has had a long injury break, but I feel he still as plenty to offer this team," Löw said. "When he is not available, Philipp Lahm, who did very well at the World Cup, will be captain with Bastian Schweinsteiger as his deputy."

Ballack, who is now back in Germany playing for Leverkusen after his contract at Chelsea expired at the end of last season, has something of a history of clashing with other players, as well as with Löw.

Things have not got off to a flying start for Ballack's return to the Bundesliga as Leverkusen were beaten 6-3 by Mönchengladbach on Sunday - and Ballack was booed off when he was replaced in the second-half.

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Meanwhile, Löw also confirmed Schalke 04 goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will remain between the posts for the national side with Rene Adler and Tim Wiese battling to be the reserve goalkeeper.

"Manuel will remain in goal, but we are in a luxury position with three goalkeepers who all have international experience and in this area, we are very strong," said Löw.

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Your comments about this article

14:23 September 1, 2010 by hanskarl
I have always appreciated Michel Ballack but his time is over. Jogi made a p[oor choice. He set the team back when it had finally gained momentum.
19:16 September 1, 2010 by happyjaybird
the team did great without him, I don't think they should change the dynamics.
20:21 September 1, 2010 by Christoph Traugott
Well glad that soap opera is over. Key sentence: "When he is not available, Philipp Lahm...will be captain" WHEN...which for Ballack, due to injuries, has been eons, so Löw will get a 'buy one, get one for free' deal. Most diplomatic way about it, and Lahm is now directly heir apparent, somewhat obvious post-World Cup, but not assured, now it is. Still, no one was rooting for Ballack, even if Philipp did break hierarchy. Really just Löw tabling the decision until after 2012, Ballack as symbolic, half figure-head, Lahm-Schweinsteiger combo as reality.
08:24 September 2, 2010 by 1FCK_1FCK
Thanks for your service, especially WM 2002 & 2006, and Euro '08. Don't let the door hit your egotistical butt on the way out.

Do you really want a 35-year-old on the Euro 2012 team?
09:38 September 2, 2010 by lordkorner
Pity Joachim didn't quote Marcellus Wallace ",you're gone, you stay gone, or you be gone. " but then he probably only knows the dubbed version,I wonder how that goes?.
05:52 September 4, 2010 by proclusian
Seems to me like zu Guttenberg's solution to the Wehrpflicht: it still exists on paper but not in reality, and the army carries on!
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