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By ESPN Staff

Ballack 'decapitated' by Polish newspaper

Midfielder Michael Ballack has been caught up in a row between Poland and Germany ahead of the European Championships after a newspaper depicted him with his head chopped off. Polish daily Super Express put together a spread showing Leo Beenhakker holding the severed heads of Germany skipper Ballack and coach Joachim Low. Ahead of the countries' meeting in Klagenfurt on Sunday, Poland coach Beenhakker was told to 'bring us their heads', which he has described as 'sick'. UEFA are hoping the outrage created by the images will mark an end to the matter. A spokesman said: 'We are aware of the pictures. It's not something we should condone, people should be talking about the football. 'There is a healthy rivalry but there is a limit. We are hopeful the talking will be done on the pitch.' Beenhakker was shocked at the images and told the Bild newspaper: 'That is rubbish. It shows that all over the world there are sick people. I distance myself from it totally.' Super Express have also drawn heavy criticism from the Bundestag, the German parliament. Peter Danckert, chairman of the Bundestag's sport committee, said: 'This photo-montage is a scandal. I hope that the Polish government reacts appropriately to it.'

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