Germany News: Ballack ruled out of finals

17th May 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

The growing fears around Germany were confirmed earlier with the news that captain Michael Ballack would miss the World Cup finals in South Africa after suffering an ankle injury in Chelsea’s 1-0 win on Saturday in the English FA Cup. Ironically, Kevin-Prince Boateng was to blame for Ballack’s injury – a tear in the medial collateral ligament – brother of German international Jerome Boateng. Kevin-Prince has dealt both his brother and the entire German dream a swift blow just weeks before the finals commence on June 11th.

Joachim Low doesn’t exactly have a lot of time to find a suitable replacement, while the vast majority would claim Michael Ballack is irreplaceable, if not for his talent for his experience and his leadership qualities. The good news is Ballack hasn’t broken anything, although that will come of little consolation to the many travelling German fans, who were pinning their hopes on Ballack having a big tournament, leading by example as the Germany captain in what would have been his very last World Cup.

So, the question now is – Can Joachim Low find a replacement for their talismanic skipper in time for the finals? The obvious answer is no, as the Germans don’t exactly have a whole host of quality central midfielders waiting in the wings. In fact, Low could be forced to stick former Aston Villa man Thomas Hitzlsperger alongside the ever consistent Bastien Schweinsteiger in a desperate attempt to fill Ballack’s void. While Hitzlsperger does have one of the deadliest and forceful shots in the game, creativity and drive isn’t his strong points and is certainly not a direct Ballack replacement.

Another option could be to take a chance on Mesut Ozil, an attacking-midfielder by trade. Ozil is one of the upcoming stars in Germany, one of the more exciting prospects in German football. He’s nothing like Ballack in that he uses skill to beat a man, whereas Ballack uses his superb vision and strength. At 21 years-old, though, will Low really risk chucking Ozil in at the deep end, especially in the knowledge that he’s replacing a German cult hero.

I guess we will all have to watch this space. The one thing Michael Ballack’s injury has done is push Germany out in price in the outright market. The German were a general 12/1 before Ballack’s omission. Joachim Low’s men are now a general 14/1 to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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