Michael Ballack will remain as Germany captain and Manuel Neuer stays as first-choice goalkeeper, coach Joachim Löw announced on Wednesday.
Midfielder Ballack missed the FIFA World Cup through injury and full-back Philipp Lahm led Germany to third place. Lahm will stay as skipper for the opening UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers in Belgium on Friday, and at home to Azerbaijan four days later. However, Löw says the 33-year-old Ballack will regain the armband when he returns from injury.
"Following a personal, open and intimate talk with Michael Ballack I have decided that Michael will remain captain of our team," Löw said. "Philipp Lahm is Michael's deputy, having carried out the captaincy excellently during the World Cup. Should Philipp not be there, Bastian Schweinsteiger will take over the captain's armband."
The coach also confirmed that Neuer will continue to start despite the return to fitness of the man who was due to be No1 in the World Cup, René Adler. "We will play the two EURO qualifiers with Manuel Neuer in goal," Löw said. "We have told the goalkeepers that Manuel will play in both games."
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