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Aug 9, 2010

Matthaus backs Lahm to keep captain's armband

Former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus believes Philipp Lahm should wear the captain's armband in future and not Michael Ballack.

Matthaus believes that Lahm commands more respect from his team-mates than Ballack after he led der mannschaft with distinction at the World Cup finals.

Ballack has said that he expects to have the captaincy restored to him when he has fully recovered from an ankle injury. But Matthaus has sided with Lahm.

Both Ballack and Lahm are not in coach Joachim Low's squad for the international friendly against Denmark on Wednesday, but he may need to make a decision before Germany face Belgium on September 3 in a Euro 2012 qualifier.

"Philipp Lahm did a great job at the World Cup and he also had the team right behind him,'' Matthaus told Sport1 television. "With Michael Ballack, I cannot see that everybody is behind him.''

"Michael wants to return and if he does return, there will be a discussion about it. If Michael doesn't return, then the issue is dealt with all by itself. I have even advised him to consider whether he really wants to carry on with this double or triple responsibility at a certain age.''

Lahm reaffirmed that he wants to carry on as Germany captain. "It is nice to hear Lothar Matthaus say that he would like to see me in this situation,'' he said. "I have said that I would like to remain captain because I really enjoy the role and nothing has changed.''

Meanwhile, the Germany squad preparing to face Denmark in a friendly on Wednesday has been reduced to just 16 players after Marco Reus pulled out due to flu. The Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder has joined Piotr Trochowski in withdrawing from an initial 18-man squad for the trip to Copenhagen.

Nevertheless, no new names will be called into the squad, according to an announcement on the official website of the German Football Association (DFB). It is the second time Reus has missed out on making his international debut.

In May, he had to pull out of the friendly with Malta due to a thigh strain, although he was one of five players who had been called up for that game only and who were not under consideration for the World Cup.

Germany coach Joachim Low is likely to use all 16 players in Wednesday night's match, meaning Wolfsburg's Sascha Riether should pick up his first cap.

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