Low: Ballack not ready for Italy friendly

BERLIN - Germany captain Michael Ballack will have to wait for a return to the national side after Joachim Low left the midfielder out of his squad for the friendly against Italy on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old Ballack, who missed last year's World Cup through injury, suffered another problem in September and only returned to action late last month.

"I am happy Michael is back after the two injuries," Low said on Friday. "He looks to be finding his rhythm. But we both know it will take some more time."

Low named five players from runaway league leaders Borussia Dortmund, including the uncapped 21-year-old midfielder Sven Bender.

"This is an opportunity to integrate new players," said Low, who has not ruled out a Ballack return and has kept him on as captain despite his long absence from the national team.

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Schalke 04), Rene Adler (Bayer Leverkusen);

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

Midfielders: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Christian Traesch (VfB Stuttgart), Mario Goetze (Borussia Dortmund), Sven Bender (Borussia Dortmund), Kevin Grosskreutz (Borussia Dortmund);

Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich), Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Lukas Podolski (Cologne).