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FOOTBALL

Ballack enjoys golden autumn to his career

Former Germany football captain Michael Ballack is back on form, scoring for Bayer Leverkusen on Friday night and earning glittering praise from his trainer.

Ballack enjoys golden autumn to his career
Photo: DPA

Despite playing in a mask to protect a broken bone in his nose, Ballack scored one of his team’s two goals against Kaiserslautern, opening up a lead which was increased later in the match by Sidney Sam’s goal, to wrap up a 2-0 victory.

“Michael has been improving his performance for months. He is living out his determination for success. He is in very good form, very present and involved in many goal-threatening situations,” said Robin Dutt, Leverkusen’s trainer.

After suffering the knock of being dropped from the national team after playing for his country 98 times, Ballack seems to be entering a career autumn that is golden, seen by many as the head and the heart of the Leverkusen team.

Even his criticism is welcomed – after saying the players were being given too easy a time, he said, “I hope that didn’t come over well. We need exactly that – discussion, different opinions and attitudes. Only then can you improve. It doesn’t help if everyone has the same opinion.”

And Dutt agreed, practically giving Ballack a license to do what he wanted. “He is such an experienced player that he can talk about things from his point of view. I have absolutely no problem with that,” said the trainer.

Yet even though Ballack’s role in the team is treasured, it is expected that he will leave at the end of the season.

“It has to make sense for both sides. At the moment we are assuming that it will be over in the summer,” said Leverkusen sports director Rudi Völler.

Ballack himself has yet to be clear on what he is planning to do. “I have some complicated months behind me,” he said.

“It is normal when one is 35 and the contract runs out, that you have a think. That doesn’t mean that it necessarily has to be the end of the Bundesliga, but one has to accept that this could be the case.”

At the moment he is consciously enjoying his time on the pitch. “I sucked up the atmosphere today. When one is in the autumn of ones career, one particularly enjoys it,” he said.

DPA/The Local/hc

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FOOTBALL

British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.

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