Germany international Michael Ballack looks set to begin his path back into the national side when he returns for Bayer Leverkusen at home to Tavriya Simferopol on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League.
The 33-year-old former Chelsea star missed last month's FIFA World Cup™ with an ankle injury and returned to his former club Leverkusen after his contract at the London club was not renewed.
Ballack will be making his first competitive appearance for Leverkusen since his return in the UEFA Europa League qualification game, but lost the German captaincy to Bayern Munich's Philipp Lahm during South Africa 2010.
He must wait to see if he will regain the captaincy when Germany begin their UEFA EURO 2012 qualification campaign against Belgium on 3 September in Brussels.
"Michael has trained with us fully and he has no complaints, things look positive for him," said Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes.
Ballack sat out Leverkusen's 11-1 win over FK Pirmasens in the German Cup first round game last Saturday, but is expected to play in Bayer's opening Bundesliga game against Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.