Jens Nowotny and Bayer Leverkusen sigh with relief over injury scare; 1.FCK's Grammozis banned for three games, Christian Wörns on the road to recovery, Alex Hleb signs contract extension at Stuttgart.
Jens Nowotny feared another knee operation could threaten his career
Bayer Leverkusen's seasoned captain Jens Nowotny does not require another knee operation which could have been potentially career threatening for the 30-year-old. Bayer's physiotherapist Dieter Trzolek confirmed this week that Nowotny would rest the knee but would not need any medical intervention. Nowotny alerted the club to pains in his knee after the 2-2 draw on Sunday with VfL Bochum and immediately pulled out of Germany's midweek friendly with Austria in order to rest the joint. Bayer's coach Klaus Augenthaler was pleased that Nowotny pulled out of the international game and should be available for selection for Leverkusen's next game, the clash with Bayern Munich on Aug. 28.
Nowotny had to undergo two operations in 2002 and 2003, prompting thoughts of retirement from the national team. The subject is one that Nowotny himself still considers. "I must discuss the situation with Jürgen Klinsmann and see how it goes in the meantime and in the long term," he said.
Grammozis Banned for Three Games
A hearing by a DFB disciplinary board on August 16 ruled that Dimitrios Grammozis of Kaiserslautern should have his one match ban increased to three matches following a red card awarded for dangerous play during the match against Schalke 04. Grammozis is banned from all competitions spanning that period of games and cannot play competitively for Kaiserslautern until the ban is lifted.
Wörns Returns to Training
Christian Wörns has returned to training with Borussia Dortmund after his Achilles' tendon injury. The defender has been making steady progress for the past four weeks but was cautious when questioned on Dortmund's official club web site about his comeback date. "When exactly I can play again for BVB, I do not know," the 32-year-old said. "I have had a long break and cannot judge how fast I can reach competition level." Nevertheless, Wörns seemed in good spirits and positive about a return: "I am glad to training again with the team. I see that the team is working well together and playing good football." BVB coach Bert van Marwijk is also pleased with the German international's progress. "Up until now, I did not have Christian Wörns; therefore it is for me, of course, a miraculous day. He is one of the best German defenders and can only offer increased quality to my team."
Hleb Commits to Stuttgart
Officials at Stuttgart have secured the services of Belarus international Aliaksandr Hleb until 2008, according to the club's official Web site. The midfielder agreed to a contract extension after discussions with his advisors, VfB coach Matthias Sammer and club president Erwin Staudt. "With this contract, we have bound another important cornerstone of the team to VfB Stuttgart for the long term," Staudt said. Sammer was quoted as saying that the lengthening of Hleb's contract was a "positive step for the club, the fans and also the player who can grow up with VfB in the long term. It is important that Alex now has clarity and his full concentration can be turned towards VfB Stuttgart."