Ballack fails to win Germany call-up

BERLIN - Germany captain Michael Ballack's international competitive career appeared to be drawing to an end after he failed on Friday to make the squad for his country's next two games.

Germany, top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group A with full points from four games, host Kazakhstan, who have yet to win a point, on March 26 before entertaining Australia in a friendly game three days later.

Coach Joachim Low opted not to pick Ballack despite the midfielder's return to full fitness following a shinbone injury earlier in the season.

Ballack, 34, has won 98 caps and scored 42 goals but has not played for Germany since March last year. An injury ruled him out of the World Cup in South Africa where Germany finished third.

Loew has said he will discuss Ballack's international future after the two matches.

The coach, who recently extended his contract to 2014, recalled midfielder Toni Kroos and forward Mario Gomez who missed the previous international against Italy in February through injury.

He also called up again Mainz's Andre Schuerrle, who won his first cap late last year. Werder Bremen's Tim Wiese returns as the third goalkeeper.

"We want to win against Kazakhstan in order to consolidate our position at the top," Low said. "We now have various alternatives in many positions and because Andre has played a good and consistent season he is back with us."

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Schalke 04), Rene Adler (Bayer Leverkusen), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen);

Defenders: Arne Friedrich (VfL Wolfsburg), Dennis Aogo (Hamburg SV), Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Jerome Boateng (Manchester City), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund);

Midfielders: Mario Goetze (Borussia Dortmund), Sven Bender (Borussia Dortmund), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Christian Traesch (VfB Stuttgart), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Andre Schuerrle (Mainz 05), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Lukas Podolski (Cologne);

Forwards: Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich);


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