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Germany

Soccer Star Ballack Marries Long-Time Partner

Michael Ballack's run of bad luck looks to have finally taken a turn for the better. The Germany captain's miserable summer got a massive boost Monday, July 14 when he married his long-time partner Simone Lambe,

Michael Ballack, right, and his wife Simone look out of the car after their marriage in Kempfenhausen, southern Germany

The Ballacks will enjoy a three-day party in Germany before returning to London

Most men are nervous before they tie the knot. But Michael Ballack may have had more reason to be anxious than most.

The Germany captain has been the bridesmaid and not the bride so many times in his recent career that he may have feared that when he actually came to the altar, his fiancé Simone Lambe may have already married his best man.

Always the bridesmaid, now the groom

Ballack at the end of the Champions League final 2008

Ballack lost the Champions League on penalties in May

Ballack has come close to winning the English Premiership, the European Champions League and the European Championships in the last few months and ended up the loser in all three. He also has a record of losing the big games stretching back to his days at Bayer Leverkusen where he lost the Bundesliga, German Cup and European Cup in the space of a couple of weeks before missing out in the 2002 World Cup final a couple of months later.

However, Ballack's luck looks to have finally changed.

The Chelsea and Germany midfielder married Simone, the mother of his three children, on Monday in a civil ceremony at a castle in Kempfenhausen, near Lake Starnberg at the foot of the German Alps.

The Ballacks plan to have their marriage blessed in a church ceremony on Tuesday and will celebrate with friends and family afterwards with a party at the lake's Bavarian Yacht Club. The festivities will continue when Ballack treats his guests to a hangover-curing breakfast at the Four Seasons hotel in Starnberg.

Berlin's DJ Noppe is thought to be lined up to provide the music at the reception for an expected 400 guests. He carried out a similar function at Ballack's 30th birthday party in London last year.

Ballack and Simone, 30, met ten years ago in a café in Kaiserslautern, where she was waitressing at the time. Ballack has said that when he saw her, it was love at first sight.

Ballack versus Big Phil

Germany's Michael Ballack, center, scores his side's 3rd goal past Portugal's Ricardo during the quarterfinal match between Portugal and Germany in Basel, Switzerland, Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ballack pushed Ferriera (l.) out of the way to score

The newly-weds might have to put off any plans for an extensive honeymoon as Ballack will be expected back in London for pre-season training with Chelsea, where he will face new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. The new Chelsea manager may want to have a word with Ballack about the foul he committed before scoring one of the goals which put Portugal out of Euro 2008 in Scolari's last game as national coach.

At least Ballack will now have an official wife to threaten the Brazilian with should initial discussions become heated.

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