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Germany Lost Without Ballack, Frings
FT Deutschland/Sueddeutsche Zeitung/FAZ, November 21st, 2008 11:30AM
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German national team coach Joachim Loew has told his players that form will count over experience when it comes to selection. But after Wednesday's mediocre defeat at home to England, the German press has concluded that the only winners were the absent captain Michael Ballack (injured) and midfield veteran Thorsten Frings (not selected). Both players had been critical of Low's policy, and both subsequently apologized to save their international careers.

In the Financial Times Deutschland, Stefan Osterhaus bemoaned the lack of quality in the German midfield, and said that goalkeeper Rene Adler's mistake on the first England goal reflects the fact that "Germany, the land of goalkeepers, currently has one or two super-talents, but no one of international class. That dilemma applies to all positions, especially in defensive midfield, where Jermaine Jones and Simon Rolfes worked diligently to advertise the merits of the out-of-favor Frings." Overall, the game was "proof of the indispensability of Ballack. The German team presented itself as a corpse-pale heap of also-rans."

Columnist Christof Kneer in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung said he was relieved that Loew had not banned Ballack und Frings for their criticisms. During the England game, "nobody showed leadership, nobody organized the play or had the authority to calm his teammates." And Michael Horeni in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said that "the young players showed a remarkable lack of passion in failing to exploit the opportunity that their coach offered them on a silver tray. Without Ballack it doesn't work."   


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