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German national team captaincy drama rivets readers

Now that the World Cup is over, the soap opera can begin. DW fans wrote in to side with Michael Ballack or Philipp Lahm in the discussion on who should captain the Nationalelf.

Michael Ballack playing football

Ballack's pre-World Cup injury made Lahm interim captain

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

Ballack chooses Leverkusen unveiling to stoke captaincy feud

In my opinion, based heavily on what I witnessed from watching the World Cup, I believe Ballack should step down as captain. He's had his moment in the spotlight and at the helm of the national team, but it's time for him to step aside and let Lahm fill those shoes. Germany did beautifully without Ballack, and I am so proud of them. We could have won this World Cup with this team, but I believe they began to doubt themselves in the lead-up to the match with Spain. Still third place is worth something and we know we have a good shot in 2014 with this team. Ballack's injury created a unique opportunity for Germany, in that it removed the stopper at the top and allowed the rest of the players below to surge up and fill the gap. Game play was spread out to the rest of the team and they worked as a cohesive unit. Ballack's return would reverse that and bring the concentration back on him. Lahm should become the new captain for Germany, but I don't agree with how he's going about it. It isn't right for him to declare that his temporary status is to become permanent. The change needs to come from the top, not from the bottom. Ballack should realize that what's best for Germany is for him to relinquish his command to Lahm, but it should be him, or team coach Joachim Loew to decide that, not Lahm. Undermining the authority and position of the captain isn't right even if Lahm is the best man for the job. -- Brandenn, US

I strongly believe that Michael Ballack has no right to claim the captaincy of the national team. This is entirely the coach's decision and that must be respected by both Ballack and Lahm. I also believe that the current young team stands a much better chance for success and that Ballack should step aside and allow the next generation to take over. He had his turn. As great as Ballack once was, we all saw what happened to the teams with "older" players in this past World Cup. -- Stefan, Canada

I feel that it is very unfair for Lothar Matthaeus and Uli Hoeness to claim that the German team did not miss Ballack in South Africa based on the team's performance against Australia, England and Argentina. It would be nice to hear their comments on the team's performance against Serbia and Spain. Yes, the young team has shown great potential by their four-goal margin but for all we know the team could have gone on to achieve six goals or more if Ballack were on the team partnered with Schweinsteiger, who has shown great improvement in his new position. I feel that there is no reason why Ballack should not be given a chance to lead the German team in the Euro 2012 if he is 100 percent fit. He has, after all, shown the entire world that he is capable of changing a game when he is in top form. -- Elena, Malaysia

Michael Ballack should captain the Germany team to Euro 2012, after that he might hang his boots for the young players to carry on with the Germany team. I think Schweinsteiger should take over the captaincy after Michael Ballack. -- Solz, US

I think Ballack's character is out of place. It is a shame that this is happening to a wonderful team who has succeeded in showing a spectacular play and creating an image of sportsmanship as well as "working as a team." His injury is truly unfortunate, but the "young" team worked its way out of tough times amidst national negativity. How has he contributed to this team? He has to catch up as the team grew during his absence. First, he has to be back in form, then he probably has to redefine his "captaincy" ... he can't just ride the bandwagon. -- Just another new German team fan, US

The very timing of Lahm's assertion, just before what should have been the match of his life, and at a time when Ballack was down, shows Lahm is not fit to be captain. Just the fact that he is enjoying himself does not entitle him to a job where he was just a caretaker. Had he played, Ballack would have been better at set pieces and contributed when field goals looked unlikely. -- Vizzy, India

My impression is that Ballack held back many players on the national team. The current team, minus Ballack, is harmonious and humble; they also appear to have a great attitude and less ego. Ballack on the team changes the dynamic of the national team for the worse. I am very proud of Lahm; he's a humble giant who demonstrated leadership on the field and off. Lahm set the tone for the team, which ultimately led Deutschland to third place; which was fantastic. This young team is a bunch of heroes to all of Germany. To be honest, no one missed Ballack. -- Daniel, Germany

Compiled by Stuart Tiffen
Editor: Sean Sinico

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