Germany captain Michael Ballack is doubtful for the Euro 2008 final on Sunday against Spain. An injury to his right calf prevented him from attending the team's final training session.
Germany captain Michael Ballack has seen happier days.
Germany coach Joachim Loew confirmed Ballack's injury just a day before the 31-year-old midfielder was posed to lead his team against Spain in the European Championship in Vienna.
"Michael Ballack hasn't been able to train for two days. His calf has hardened up," Loew told the press.
Ballack missed the final training on June 28.
"It wasn't possible for him to train today either but we will see how the situation develops overnight. Our medical team is working constantly to try to give him every possible chance of playing."
Not all hope is lost
Ballack has complained since Friday of the problem to his right calf muscle.
"It's not exactly the optimal situation. Yesterday (Friday, June 27), he noticed a strain in the calf muscle. He is now undergoing constant treatment. We aren't giving up hope," said team manager Oliver Bierhoff.
The German Football Federation said that a decision on whether Ballack can play on Sunday is still open and will be decided at short notice.
The Germany captain is a key player in the team. Scouring two goals during the Euro 2008 tournament, Ballack was also designated the outstanding player in the 3-2 win over Portugal in the quarter-finals.
Ballack was less impressive against Turkey in the semi-finals, but his absence would be a huge blow to the team, who are bidding for their fourth European Championship title.
Ballack scores the opening goal after a free kick during the Austria match June 16
Borowski or Schweinsteiger as replacement
If Ballack fails to recover in time for the final match, Loew said either Tim Borowski or Bastian Schweinsteiger would fill his forward midfield role.
Bierhoff told the German national broadcaster ARD that he expected the team to rally together to overcome the final hurdle against Spain.
"The players want to take that final step," he said. "The team has shown determination throughout the tournament to get through the highs and lows. The players now want to take that final step."
Ballack has never played in a major final for Germany. He missed the 2002 World Cup final against Brazil due to a suspension and Germany was knocked out of the 2006 semi-final against Italy.