Ballack breaks nose after scoring for Leverkusen against Freiburg

Former Bayern Munich and Chelsea star Michael Ballack could miss his side’s Bayer Leverkusen’s Champions League game against Valencia on Tuesday after suffering a broken nose on Friday after scoring the winning goal against Freiburg.

Ballack breaks nose after scoring for Leverkusen against Freiburg
Photo: DPA

The former German captain was taken to hospital in Freiburg on Friday night, returning to his team hotel at 1.30 a.m. with the bad news that his nose was broken – just hours after being hailed as a hero for his goal which gave Leverkusen a 1-0 victory.

He was hurt during a tackle with Freiburg’s Jan Rosenthal in the 65th minute of the match, after which he was substituted off the field.

“That is now of course doubly bitter for him,” said team colleague Lars Bender. “One can see how important a fit Michael Ballack is for us at the moment.”

Ballack has been struggling with fitness for months, and his return to form leading Leverkusen to a win seemed perfect. He scored after just 103 seconds of play, chalking up his first Budesliga goal since May 2006 when he was playing for Bayern Munich.

“Michael played a very strong first half, and anticipated the situation in front of goal very well,” said Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt.

National trainer Joachim Löw, who deselected Ballack from his team, was watching the match, but had no comment to make on his former captain’s performance.

It is now not certain whether Ballack will be able to play in Tuesday’s clash against Valencia at the Mestalla stadium there, where the hosts will be looking to claw back their current deficit.

Halfway through the Champions League Group E, Ballack’s former home Chelsea is on top with seven points, while Leverkusen is just behind with six points and Valencia is third with two.

DPA/AFP/The Local/hc

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Ballack attracts 50,000 to farewell match

Germany and Chelsea legend Michael Ballack bowed out of professional football on Wednesday night with a testimonial match. Newly-reappointed Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was among the 50,000-strong crowd.

Ballack attracts 50,000 to farewell match
Photo: DPA

Ballack, 36, who was capped 98 times including the Euro 2008 final defeat by Spain, scored three times in the 4-3 win by his side ‘Ballack’s friends’ against an invitational team playing in Leipzig.

“It is fantastic that after such a long season so many international stars [former Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba was among them] came to play,” purred Ballack.

“It has really been a super career despite some difficult moments,” added Ballack, who won four Bundesliga titles, one with Kaiserslautern and three with Bayern Munich, and a Premier League title and FA Cup with Chelsea.

Mourinho, who brought Ballack to Chelsea in 2006, was full of praise for the attacking midfielder.

“He was a fantastic player for Chelsea and for Germany,” said Mourinho.

“I wish him from the bottom of my heart all the happiness in the world in his retirement.”

German national coach Joachim Löw was also among the crowd even though he and Ballack had a troubled relationship.