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Euro challenge has Ballack raring to go

SoccerNews in Bundesliga, European Championships 27 May 2008


German captain Michael Ballack shrugged off his disappointment at losing out to Manchester United in last Wednesday's Champions League by saying on Monday he couldn't wait for Euro 2008 to begin.

The 31-year-old Chelsea playmaker had watched disbelievingly as first club captain John Terry missed what would have been the winning penalty and then Nicolas Anelka – who had refused to take one of the first five penalties – have his sudden death effort saved by Edwin van der Sar to give United victory.

However, Ballack insisted on Monday after joining up with his national team-mates as they prepare for a pre Euro friendly against Belarus on Tuesday that four days with his family had allowed him to relax and dull somewhat the disappointing result.

“I am delighted to be back among the squad, I am really impatient for the tournament to begin,” said Ballack, who has scored 35 goals in 79 matches for Germany.

“I have had several days to get it (the Champions League defeat) out of my system.

“But now, I begin again and its full steam ahead,” added Ballack.

Ballack is expected to play for between half-an-hour and 45 minutes against Belarus, the penultimate warm-up match for the Germans ahead of the beginning of Euro, which is being co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland and runs from June 7-29.

Six players, though, will take no part in the match in Kaiserslautern having stayed behind at the Germans training camp in Mallorca.

They include the injury-plagued Tim Borowski, who is suffering from 'flu, Mario Gomez has a calf worry, Rene Adler has a bruised hip and Kevin Kuranyi has been rested.

Germany are in Group B along with Austria, Croatia and debutants Poland, who begin their campaign against the Germans in Klagenfurt on June 8.


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