Hapless Ballack hit by infection

BERLIN - Michael Ballack was grounded by an infection on Friday one day after the injury-plagued Bayer Leverkusen midfielder played his first match for four months.

"Michael Ballack has left today's training session because of the effects of a virus," Leverkusen's communications head Meinolf Sprink told the sports news agency SID. "After a conversation with the team doctor and the player, there is no cause for concern."

Ballack, who missed last year's World Cup through injury, came on at half-time on Thursday to help his team beat second division Rot-Weiss Oberhausen 2-1 in a friendly.