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Chelsea's Ballack backed by Germany teammates in Loew row

Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack is being backed by Germany teammates in his row with coach Joachim Loew.

Ballack accused Loew of lacking respect for the older members of the national team in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper last week.

Loew reacted with "astonishment" and summoned Ballack for a one-to-one talk to explain his remarks.

On Saturday, Ballack spoke to Loew on the phone and admitted he had been wrong to go public with his criticisms.

But it seems his international team-mates are of a different opinion.

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Bernd Schneider told the Bild newspaper: "Ballack is the captain and he should remain so. He has the right to give his opinion as the captain."

Borussia Monchengladbach's Oliver Neuville added: "[Ballack] has been around long enough to be able to say something now and then.

"The team cannot do without him - he is the man for the decisive goals."

And Torsten Frings, the man who Ballack was defending with his initial comments, said: "If Michael Ballack is not allowed to say anything, then nobody can say anything any more."

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