Text: “Of course the team is missing Michael Ballack. He is the captain and he is the leader of the team. He is the head of the team. (The) players like him but it doesn’t have to be a disadvantage. The German team is very balanced team with not big stars. It’s a very, very balanced team. So, I think in this case it’s an advantage.”
Context: That’s the Kaiser at a press conference today. Ballack is injured and out of the World Cup. With Ballack out the Germans will have their second youngest World Cup squad ever.
Subtext: Franz was a bit more doom and gloom a few days ago. Then the story was “Without Michael Ballack it will be difficult. Our team is weakened,” Beckenbauer told the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. “We’ll have to work hard just to reach the semi-finals.” He seemed to be going down the same road initially with this comment but then chagned gears. Safe bet that manager Joachim Low maybe had a word that the Kaiser’s comments weren’t exactly what his young squad needed to hear from the Uber-legend so he softened it…to the best of his ability.
So now they’re “balanced” without Ballack. Is that a nice way of saying they’re all equally shit? No, of course not. It’s a diplomatic way of saying none of you are likely to stand out and on the balance of things I’ve got pretty low expectations.