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   June 27, 2002 | 1645 IST


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Jeremies may replace Ballack

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Jens Jeremies is likely to step in for suspended playmaker Michael Ballack when Germany face Brazil in Sunday's World Cup final, assistant coach Michael Skibbe said on Thursday.

"Jens Jeremies has put up solid performances and is a strong candidate," Skibbe said of the Bayern Munich player, who has been used mostly as a substitute so far. "He's a good option."

Ballack, who has been instrumental in Germany's run to the final, ruled himself out with a second yellow card in Tuesday's 1-0 semi-final victory over South Korea in which he hit the winner. He was earlier booked against Paraguay.

Dietmar Hamann should take over Ballack's playmaking duties with Jeremies taking the Liverpool player's usual defensive role at the centre of midfield.

Striker Miroslav Klose, who has scored five goals in the finals, was substituted with bruised ribs in Tuesday's game.

"I wish him to score a goal in the final," Skibbe said, suggesting Klose would be fit to play against Brazil in the Japanese port city of Yokohama.

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