Advent Day 13 – Michael Ballack, Germany’s nearly man born a decade too early

By Lewis Steele

“Football is a simple game. 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win” – Gary Lineker, 1990.

Over time, Germany as a footballing nation has been ruthless. They have had multiple times where the referee blows the full-time whistle and leave the watchers sat at home, thinking ‘How have they won that?’ It’s true, Germany do have their fair share of luck.

For Michael Ballack, it was a little different. He was Germany’s nearly man, described by Udo Muras for Die Welt as “the lone shining light in a leaden era” – he never had the glittering talents alongside him such as Toni Kroos or World Cup winner Mario Götze, instead he had Torsten Frings and Carstein Jancker as his teammates for Die Mannschaft.

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