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Ballack calls for Germany's new leaders to emerge

Michael Ballack says Germany face a challenge replacing a retired core of leaders as the world champions prepare for their opening game of Euro 2016.

Joachim Low's team will be without former captain Philipp Lahm, his fellow defender Per Mertesacker and striker Miroslav Klose when they take on Ukraine in Lille on Sunday.

The trio all called time on their international careers after lifting the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

And Ballack, who inspired Germany to the final of the World Cup in 2002 but missed the defeat to Brazil due to suspension, knows how important it is for the more experienced players in the squad to take responsibility in France. 

"We lost a few leaders with Lahm, Mertesacker and Klose which we have to replace," he told Omnisport.

"Especially in the big tournaments it's not easy to find a new balance, a new hierarchy. But there's still a lot of quality in the team."

Asked how he thinks Germany will fare at the European Championship, Ballack said: "We hope well. We are world champions, one of the favourites again.

"I think the team is still very good. Very good quality, [with] young talented players."

After facing Ukraine, Germany take on Poland and Northern Ireland in Group C, as they seek to improve on a surprise semi-final defeat to Italy at the 2012 tournament.