Ex-coach backs Ballack to lead Germany again | Pakistan Today

Ex-coach backs Ballack to lead Germany again

BERLIN – With Germany set to face Italy in a friendly on February 9, ex-national coach Jurgen Klinsmann has backed Michael Ballack to lead his country again in their Euro 2012 campaign. Ballack made his comeback after four months off with a leg injury on Sunday in Leverkusen’s 3-1 win at Moenchengladbach in the German league.
The 34-year-old had a torrid time in 2010 as an ankle injury in May ruled him out of the World Cup in South Africa, only for him to then fracture his leg during only his third game back in September. Ballack is just two caps short of his 100th appearance for Germany, but Bayern Munich’s Philipp Lahm is expected to captain the national team against the Italians, as he did at the World Cup.
Pundits in the German media have questioned whether Ballack will play for the national side again, let alone captain the side, but Klinsmann is backing Ballack to lead Germany at Euro 2012 in the Ukraine and Poland. The Germans currently dominate their qualifying group.
“I hope that he is our captain at Euro 2012, his personality on the field is something which should not be underestimated,” Klinsmann, who coached Germany at the 2006 World Cup, told German newspaper The Heilbronner Stimme. In Ballack’s absence, Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira has forged a partnership alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger in Germany’s midfield and national coach Joachim Loew has said Ballack will have to work hard to win back his place.
There are still question marks over Ballack’s fitness after a quiet 34 minutes against ‘Gladbach in the Bundesliga on Sunday and the former Chelsea star is not even assured of his place in the Leverkusen side. He spent the entire 90 minutes on the bench in Leverkusen’s 3-1 defeat by Bundesliga leaders Dortmund the week before. “It is normal that I want to play,” said Ballack.
“If a player gets injured and wants to return, there is always a difference of opinion.” Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes has said he was impressed by Ballack against ‘Gladbach and it remains to be seen if the Germany captain has more game time against Hanover on Friday night.

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