Voller backs Ballack
Bayer Leverkusen director of sport Rudi Voller insists Michael Ballack remains a vital part of their squad, even though the Germany captain was dropped for the weekend win at Eintracht Frankfurt. Leverkusen cruised to a 3-0 victory with Ballack watching the entire 90 minutes from the bench.
Afterwards, coach Jupp Heynckes stressed no player is guaranteed a place in the first XI but Voller believes Ballack is still a key player for the club. "It will work out with Balle, I am convinced," he told the Bild newspaper. "For the big ambitions that we have, a good, fit Michael Ballack is just what we need."
Ballack is a doubt for Leverkusen's trip to FC Metalist Kharkiv in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday after aggravating a knee injury on Sunday. He has spent much of the last year sidelined and was even forced to miss the FIFA World Cup™ due to his injury problems, but Voller still expects him to return to his best sooner or later.
"Balle has got to grit his teeth and come through this," he said. "Michael is too ambitious (to retire). He is not going to do that voluntarily, that is not his style, even though he is unsatisfied at the moment.
"He can do nothing about having two serious injuries and that his role as Germany captain is placed in doubt, or that everything is about him here in Leverkusen - that is not his fault. That is the way things go with big players in the media world. Ballack has got to deal with it in a relaxed, expert way until he is back to his best on the field."