Dutt: Ballack experience vital against Valencia

Experienced midfielder Michael Ballack will be in Bayer Leverkusen's starting line-up against Valencia when the sides meet in Champions League Group E, the German club's coach Robin Dutt said on Tuesday.

Leverkusen need victory on Wednesday to take control of second place in the group and end a seven-match losing streak against Spanish teams.

"Experience is important in a Champions League game if the players are fit," Dutt told a news conference.

Asked whether Ballack, who has not started regularly in the league this season, was fit, the coach said with a smile: "He gives the impression of being very fresh."

Dutt has chosen to alternate between Simon Rolfes and the 35-year-old this season but Ballack has featured in both Champions League games and has scored the win over Racing Genk of Belgium.

Leverkusen are second in the group on three points behind Chelsea on four, with Valencia a point behind on two and Genk on one.

Former Germany captain Ballack, who lost the 2002 Champions League Final with Leverkusen and the 2008 showpiece with Chelsea, has also had experience in the competition playing for Bayern Munich.

Dutt said the match felt like a final for his team as they seek to clinch second spot and a place in the knockout stage.

"For us this game has the character of a final. If we do not win at home against Valencia then we need to go and win against them in Valencia," Dutt said.


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