Still out of commission, Michael Ballack is set to return as captain of Germany's national soccer team. Coach Joachim Loew chose Ballack over his replacement, Philipp Lahm, who had hoped to remain the team's leader.
Ballack will not play for Germany until October at the earliest
Michael Ballack will resume the role of captain when he returns to the German national soccer team, Germany Coach Joachim Loew told reporters Wednesday in Frankfurt.
"I have in the past days had a personal discussion with Ballack and I decided that Michael Ballack will continue being the captain of our team," Loew said ahead of Germany's first European Championship 2012 qualifier against Belgium on Friday.
Defender Philipp Lahm had taken over for Ballack after the latter suffered an incapacitating ankle injury while playing for Chelsea in the Football Association Cup final earlier this year.
Lahm, who served as Germany's captain at the South Africa World Cup this summer, will continue to act as captain until Ballack rejoins the national team. Lahm had wished to remain leader of the national team, and reports suggested the two players were locked in a row over the position.
Ballack still off the pitch
Lahm led Germany to third place at this year's World Cup
Still sidelined by his injury, Ballack will miss the upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Belgium and Azerbaijan. Although the 33-year-old midfielder is again fit, Loew said he has not yet trained enough since his injury to bring Germany an advantage.
It still remains unclear whether Ballack will participate in Germany's qualifiers against Turkey and Kazakhstan in October.
"We will see what the situation is in the coming weeks," said Loew. "I will monitor his development and in October I will decide whether I will boost the squad with him."
Author: David Levitz (dpa/Reuters)
Editor: Martin Kuebler