Captaincy row threatens German harmony

German Football
By German Football July 6, 2010 18:54

Captaincy row threatens German harmony

A row over the captaincy of the German national team threatens to torpedo the harmony within the side as the three-time champion takes on Spain in the semifinals of the World Cup Wednesday.

Injured captain Michael Ballack showed up in South Africa in what seemed like a show of support for his troops. But current captain Philipp Lahm caused a major controversy by saying he would not willingly hand the captain’s armband back to Ballack.

As the dispute continued, German team manager Oliver Bierhoff appeared to throw his support behind Ballack.

‘It has been discussed in the team council: Michael Ballack is still the captain – and Philipp is now our World Cup captain,’ Bierhoff told a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final showdown with Spain.

Bierhoff expressed his disappointment in the timing of the issue, calling it ‘not so fortunate.’

‘This is an issue that cannot be addressed this week. Now we have to focus on completing the final two games successfully. Everything else comes thereafter and in the end is a decision of the coach,’ he said.

The row broke out on the same day that German keeper Manuel Neuer was asked at a press conference Monday about the harmony within the German side.

‘No, we’re not taking any harmony pills. We just get along well with one another,’ said Neuer.

But the media had a field day later when Lahm said in a number of interviews that would like to remain Germany captain beyond the World Cup, creating splash headlines in Germany of a ‘power struggle’ between him and Ballack.

‘Of course I don’t want to give up the captain’s armband again,’ Lahm was quoted as telling the Munich-based daily tz. ‘I will not volunteer to give it up. But that decision is with the coach.’

Asked by the tabloid Bild whether the German team still needed the 98-times capped Ballack, Lahm said: ‘I am not the one who should answer the question with a yes or a no.’

The row has created a giant stir back home with a variety of former German greats lining up and taking sides on the issue.

‘There is no reason that he should quite as captain,’ said former German national team boss and 1990 world champion Rudi Voeller, who also is also the sports director of Ballack’s new Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen.

‘He is still one of the most dangerous midfielders in the world. He can help any team.’

Former Germany captain and record international Lothar Matthaeus meanwhile called out for Ballack to step down.

‘If Michael were to say now: ‘The team is strong without me as well, I am stepping down and concentrating on Leverkusen, then he would prove his stature,’ Matthaeus told Bild.

And former international Stefan Effenberg is convinced Ballack will return to the German side.

‘He has a great club with Bayer Leverkusen, he will return to fitness and he will again be the captain of the national team,’ said Effenberg, a commentator on the World Cup for German pay-TV channel Sky.

‘Philipp Lahm must then return to the second rank and give up the armband.’

The 33-year-old Ballack left the German World Cup team in South Africa and flew home Monday amid suggestions that relations with some of his teammates were less than idyllic. Bierhoff, however, said Ballack did not know of Lahm’s comments prior to his departure.

Team doctors said Ballack, who had come to support the team before the 4-0 quarter-final win over Argentina, would be better off continuing recuperation in Europe.

German Football
By German Football July 6, 2010 18:54
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12 Comments

  1. Rahman Henry July 6, 19:37

    It’s not the time or proper time at all to raise these stupid questions. Now its time for Germany to win the next two matches.

  2. Ash July 6, 19:49

    Trust me there is no rift and no infighting about something as stupid as this… what are we FRANCE?! :S

  3. Mads July 6, 19:54

    What Lahm said has probably been blown up a little bit by the press. It’s not really his choice to make. And Ballack has simply returned for treatment. The press love to stir things up. Wish the German media would calm down, and support Germany to win tomorrow!

  4. fanie July 6, 21:41

    is it time to talk about such of this thing? i guess no…please focus for the next match… it’s gonna be very funny if germany lose because of this thing.. Deutschland uber alles!!

  5. FayXaan July 6, 22:43

    who the hell asked this stupidest question at this point of time..

    btw it is not the big deal..Lahm just answered what does he think about being a captain..

  6. Soemanto July 7, 00:05

    It’s not a big deal, the team is still a brutally efficient machine, I hope..

  7. DrKamal July 7, 03:50

    The road to the final has not yet come to an end; the party will go on. In South Africa, Germany and Malaysia. We are all one team. And we all have a very big goal. Together we can do it! GO TO THE NEXT LEVEL. WE LOVE YOU.

    Dr. Kamal Shah
    Malaysia.

  8. dbanerjee July 7, 07:12

    Is it really a matter who will be the captain or get going with such team success with everyone together to be a
    no.1 team in soccer.

  9. shiby July 7, 11:49

    germany..pls concentrate on ur game,ur goal..v always want our germany to be united i.e, a team..dont listen to this media..they always raise these stupid questions ,when they find someone s doing well..soo..

  10. adnan khan July 7, 12:47

    for God sake,,,,, Mr. Press dont shake the consistency by these rumours,,,,, leave them till the last show

  11. :'( July 8, 08:57

    Now thats exactly why we lost couldn’t they solve this issue until the WC is finished, the team needs to focus on the game!!
    But in my point of view the team is much better without Ballack but they still need him, but not as a captain.

    another question: why the hell is Klose leaving ??!! :O :O :O

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