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Ballack back in Germany reckoning

Published: Thursday 31 January 2008, 22.19CET
Michael Ballack has returned to the Germany squad for Wednesday's friendly against Austria while Jermaine Jones and Heiko Westermann could collect first caps.
by Steffen Potter
from Frankfurt
Ballack back in Germany reckoning
Michael Ballack scored last night for Chelsea ahead of his Germany recall ©Getty Images
 
Published: Thursday 31 January 2008, 22.19CET

Ballack back in Germany reckoning

Michael Ballack has returned to the Germany squad for Wednesday's friendly against Austria while Jermaine Jones and Heiko Westermann could collect first caps.

Germany captain Michael Ballack has returned to the squad for Wednesday's friendly against UEFA EURO 2008™ co-hosts Austria while FC Schalke 04 duo Jermaine Jones and Heiko Westermann could win their first caps.

'Positive trend'
Ballack has been out of international action since March due to an ankle injury, but has returned to fitness with Chelsea FC, and last night scored the winner against Reading FC. "We are happy that Michael is fully fit and is back with the national team after such a long time," said coach Joachim Löw. "He has performed strongly for Chelsea since his comeback and we hope that he continues this positive trend. As captain and a key player, he is a vital part of our plans for EURO."

Duo get chance
Germany meet Austria in Vienna, just as they will in June's finals, but next week they are without the injured Torsten Frings, Christoph Metzelder, Arne Friedrich, Marcell Jansen, Clemens Fritz, Christian Pander and Serdar Tasci, meaning call-ups for uncapped midfielder Jones and defender Westerman. "We have been watching Jermaine Jones for a long time now and had called him up for the matches against Cyprus and Wales, when unfortunately he suffered a injury and had to pull out," said Löw. "Heiko is a versatile defender, he can be played in central defence or as a full-back. Of course, he profits a little from the fact that we are missing an entire back four against Austria."

Germany squad
Goalkeepers: Timo Hildebrand (Valencia CF), Jens Lehmann (Arsenal FC).

Defenders: Gonzalo Castro (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Manuel Friedrich (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Roberto Hilbert (VfB Stuttgart), Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Heiko Westermann (FC Schalke 04).

Midfielders: Michael Ballack (Chelsea FC), Thomas Hitzlsperger (VfB Stuttgart), Jermaine Jones (FC Schalke 04), Lukas Podolski (FC Bayern München), Simon Rolfes (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Bernd Schneider (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (FC Bayern München), Piotr Trochwoski (Hamburger SV).

Forwards: Mario Gómez (VfB Stuttgart), Miroslav Klose (FC Bayern München), Kevin Kuranyi (FC Schalke 04), Oliver Neuville (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach).

 
Last updated: 01/02/08 3.00CET

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