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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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By ESPN Staff

Ballack ruled out of Germany's qualifying games

Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has been ruled out of Germany's forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Finland.

The German football federation revealed that Ballack is suffering from a bruised foot and will miss the opening games in Group Four.

The federation had earlier suggested the 31-year-old could recover in time for the trip to Helsinki, but Ballack confirmed he would miss both fixtures.

He told German Channel 2: 'The original diagnosis of the Chelsea doctor has been confirmed. It means that I will be out for at least two weeks.'

The 32-year-old suffered the knock in Chelsea's opening-day victory over Portsmouth on August 17, which caused him to pull out of Germany's 2-0 friendly win over Belgium.

A combination of rest and treatment looked to have solved the problem as Ballack returned for the Blues against Wigan, only for the injury to flare up again and rule him out of the qualifiers.

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