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Chelsea clash with German FA over Ballack availability

Chelsea have clashed with the German FA over the availability of Michael Ballack.

Skipper Ballack was wanted at a get-together in Stuttgart on Monday, when the players were given fitness checks and filmed for ads to be shown before the World Cup finals.

But Carlo Ancelotti vetoed the 33-year-old midfielder's departure with a crucial Premier League clash with Birmingham at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

Germany coach Joachim Loew said: "This is infuriating for the team sponsors, and I too regret the fact that Michael won't be present.

"We have a fitness test for the World Cup after the filming, and I wanted everybody to take part. The date has already been postponed once, and there was no alternative one.

"But I can understand Chelsea's decision. Playing football takes priority."

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