2010 World Cup: Can Germany become World Champions without Michael Ballack, Sami Khedira stepping up

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2010 World Cup: Can Germany become World Champions without Michael Ballack, Sami Khedira stepping up

This World Cup will answer a very scary question for Germany and that is if Die Mannschaft really requires Michael Ballack for the national team to be inspired and proceed to the next stages or not? If that is the case, then the German squad may find a substitute for Ballack which can result in Germany becoming a better and stronger team even if they fail to take home the FIFA World Cup Trophy.

When the German coach Joachim Löw was asked about this answer, he could merely say that Michael would have been a very important player with his presence and experience for us. Now the German squad is doing as brilliant as ever as a team and Löw’s balancing of new and old seems to be working its charm.

It was just a few weeks ago that fans, media and experts were along the lines that the loss of the 33-year-old Chelsea midfielder will have a great effect on the National team. They were predicting that Germany would even face great difficulty during the group stages.

However, that does not seem to be the case. Australia’s 4-0 demolition in Durban has changed everybody’s perspective. The win reignited the fact for those who had forgotten that the Germans excelled spectacularly as a team.

Mesut Özil, Werder Bremen and Thomas Müller were among those who shone brilliantly and even the ones that had a bad season including Miroslav Klose from Bayern Munich and Lukas Podolski from Cologne gave in their best. Despite their effort, it was Sami Khedira from Stuttgart who played marvellously. He played supreme football by playing at Ballack’s centre-midfield position that Löw later expressed that he is turning into a young Ballack.

Khedira later stated, “I'm proud to be part of the team but don't like these comparison. I'm not trying to copy anyone. Everybody knows that Michael is a world-class player with immense experience”.

Khedira helped Stuttgart with the German Championship win in 2007. Despite producing such good play, he has just played 15 international matches and his last two seasons at Bundesliga were not as impressive either.

Nevertheless, Khedira has started to prove his worth and potential in the team. As soon as Ballack got injured in May, it was clear that he was the number one candidate for the job. Khedira admitted that Ballack’s injury was a blessing for him in disguise and he didn’t mind that. He said, “I'm not one for pushing to the forefront [of attention]," he said. "I don't mind doing the dirty work. I'm happy to run for Mesut Özil, so that he can decide the match”. The duo set things on fire with last year’s Under-21 European championship in Sweden; a place where Germans shattered England with a 4-0 defeat.

Khedira was born in Stuttgart while his father is Tunisian and mother a German. This not only happens to be Germany’s youngest squad since 1934 but it also happens to be the one with the most diverse backgrounds. Among the 23 members of the German squad, eleven of them are from immigrant backgrounds. This clearly reflects well on the countries acceptance towards other nationalities and socio-civilian changes that have occurred in the recent past.

This fact also reflects that the country has a well established football infrastructure at the grass root levels and it is without any kinds of discrimination, the proof being the emergence of such young and skilled migrant players.

Khedira told the media that he regretted not being able to speak Arabic but was still proud to be a German. Although the footballer still keeps in touch with his Tunisian roots. He claimed, “Of course we noticed that it's something new to have German national players with Turkish, Ghanaian, Nigerian or Tunesian roots, but for our generation it's very normal. I have been playing together with Dennis Aogo and Jerome Boateng as long ago as the U-15s”. He then added, “We have some players called Khedira and some called Müller. We don't know any differently”.

That in essence proves the chemistry that results in teamwork in Germany, they no doubt have individual stars within the team but whenever one of them is out form, the other comes for his assistance and that is the quality of a great team.



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