Germany's national football coach Joachim Loew has left former captain Michael Ballack out of his latest squad. Loew said he was waiting to see the midfielder make a return to form with new club Bayer Leverkusen.
Ballack must find top club form to regain a Germany place
Former Germany soccer captain Michael Ballack has been left out of the national squad for Euro 2012 qualifiers next month.
Loew said he had a good and honest discussion with Ballack
Coach Joachim Loew said he wanted to see Ballack first make a return to his best form with Bayer Leverkusen after the player was left out of the South Africa World Cup squad because of a severe ankle injury.
"We had a good and honest discussion," said Loew on Friday, after talking to Ballack by phone.
"Michael is going the right way three months after his serious injury and everybody is pleased with his recovery," Loew said. "It's is really important now that he recovers his top form with Leverkusen in the weeks to come."
Injured in cup final
Ballack suffered an ankle injury playing in last season's English FA Cup final for former club Chelsea against Portsmouth, after a challenge from Berlin-born Kevin-Prince Boateng.
He played the full 90 minutes in Leverkusen's 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the club's first Bundesliga match of the season last week.
Defender Lahm looks set to retain the captain's armband
Defender Philipp Lahm looks set to retain the captaincy after leading Germany to third place at the World Cup. Loew has called up 17 members of the squad that he took to the tournament.
Not included are the injured Arne Friedrich, Jerome Boateng, Piotr Trochowski and Dennis Aogo. Goalkeeper Rene Adler and defender Heiko Westermann make a return after missing the World Cup.
Germany plays Belgium in Brussels on September 3, and hosts Azerbaijan in Cologne four days later.
Author: Richard Connor (dpa/SID/AFP)
Editor: Chuck Penfold