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Ballack back for Germany

May 26, 2003 20:50 IST
Playmaker Michael Ballack returns to the Germany squad for a Euro 2004 qualifier against Scotland on June 7 in Glasgow.

Ballack, who returned to action for German champions Bayern Munich last month after seven weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury, has not played for Germany since a 3-1 defeat by the Netherlands in a friendly international in November.

The 26-year-old was included on Monday by coach Rudi Voeller in a 23-man squad for a friendly against Canada on Sunday in Wolfsburg and qualifiers against Scotland and the Faroe Islands, on June 11 in Torshavn.

"The fact that we missed him (Ballack) is no secret," said Voeller, whose team had gone three matches without victory before they beat Serbia and Montenegro 1-0 in a friendly last month.

"Michael has demonstrated many times how important he is to us. He showed with Bayern that he is back to his best and I hope he can put up a great performance for us and maybe score a goal or two."

Germany, Scotland, whose manager is former Germany coach Berti Vogts, and Lithuania are tied on seven points at the top of Group Five. Germany have played three games, Scotland four and Lithuania five.

"This the most important game of the year for us," Voeller said of the Scotland match.

Ballack and the other players in the squad from Bayern Munich and Kaiserslautern will not play against Canada on Sunday. Bayern and Kaiserslautern face each other in the German Cup final on Saturday in Berlin.

Voeller had to make do without defender Christoph Metzelder and midfielders Dietmar Hamann and Christian Ziege, all injured. The former Germany striker also left out defender Jens Nowotny and midfielder Sebastian Deisler, who have both just resumed training after long injury breaks.

There is no newcomer in the squad.

Goalkeepers: Hans-Joerg Butt (Bayer Leverkusen), Oliver Kahn (Bayern Munich), Frank Rost (Schalke 04)

Defenders: Frank Baumann (Werder Bremen), Arne Friedrich, Michael Hartmann, Marko Rehmer (all Hertha Berlin), Andreas Hinkel (VfB Stuttgart), Tobias Rau (VfL Wolfsburg), Christian Woerns (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielders: Michael Ballack, Jens Jeremies (both Bayern Munich), Joerg Boehme (Schalke 04), Paul Freier (VfL Bochum), Torsten Frings, Sebastian Kehl (both Borussia Dortmund), Carsten Ramelow, Bernd Schneider (both Bayer Leverkusen)

Strikers: Fredi Bobic (Hanover 96), Miroslav Klose (Kaiserslautern), Kevin Kuranyi (VfB Stuttgart), Benjamin Lauth (TSV 1860 Munich), Oliver Neuville (Bayer Leverkusen).

Source:
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