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By ESPN Staff

German FA chief questions Ballack's motives

The president of the German Football Association has questioned the motives behind Michael Ballack's apology to national coach Joachim Low.

The Chelsea midfielder released a statement on Saturday in which he admitted criticising Low's treatment of Torsten Frings and Kevin Kuranyi in a recent interview had been a mistake.

The Chelsea man also signalled his intention to say sorry to Low in person when he had recovered from a foot operation and was fit to travel to Germany.

But DFB chief Theo Zwanziger fears Ballack's actions could be just a ploy to avoid being stripped of the captaincy.

"The apology has taken the edge off the conflict. And at least it has now been clarified that the mistake clearly lay with our captain,'' Zwanziger told the online version of Die Welt newspaper.

"Now we certainly have to face the question: How reasonable is Michael Ballack? Is the apology only tactics or is it really meant honestly?''

Low last week summoned Ballack for one-to-one talks after being "disappointed'' at comments the made in a newspaper interview.

Ballack had suggested to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Low had been disrespectful in his recent treatment of Frings and Kuranyi.

Low was incensed his skipper had used the media to criticise him and threatened to strip him of the national team captaincy.

Zwanziger has spoken with Low and Germany manager Oliver Bierhoff about Ballack over the past few days.

"We discussed what the explanation means and questioned whether with it everything is now sorted,'' he added. "Joachim Low does not see it like that and I also don't see it like that.

"We have to exactly scrutinise what intentions lie behind the statements, and at the end of the talk it has to be guaranteed that nothing like this will happen again.''

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