Musiala must 'really want to play' for Germany over England, says Ballack

By Sports Desk February 10, 2021

Germany should only call up Bayern Munich sensation Jamal Musiala if he "really wants" to change allegiances, according to former captain Michael Ballack.

After making his debut in June 2020, Bayern teenager Musiala has become a regular fixture in the Bundesliga champions' first-team squad, featuring in 15 games and scoring three goals this season.

The 17-year-old switched from Chelsea's youth academy to Bayern in July 2019 - aged 16 - before becoming Bayern's youngest ever senior player and their youngest goalscorer. 

Born in Stuttgart to a German mother and an English-Nigerian father, Musiala moved to London aged seven and represented England from Under-15 to U21 levels, as well as Germany U16s.

Although he last played for England against Albania in November 2020, Musiala remains eligible for both nations and it has been reported that a tug-of-war has been ongoing for some time.

The highly rated youngster has reportedly been contacted by England manager Gareth Southgate and Germany head coach Joachim Low, but Ballack insisted Musiala should only play for Die Mannschaft if he is fully committed.

"We talk about the German national team. It should consist of players that meet the requirements and really want to play for this team," Ballack, who earned 98 caps for Germany, told Stats Perform News.

"It also needs to meet the rules and everything else needs to be decided from the national coach."

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  • Germany v Hungary: Point needed to preserve Die Mannschaft's proud tournament record Germany v Hungary: Point needed to preserve Die Mannschaft's proud tournament record

    Germany have never exited consecutive major tournaments at the group stage but need at least a draw against Hungary to be sure of avoiding that fate.

    Joachim Low's side suffered an awful early elimination at the 2018 World Cup and were facing further pain after losing their Euro 2020 opener against France.

    The 2014 world champions recovered with a stunning 4-2 win over holders Portugal, though, and could yet top the group with a win, setting up a meeting with a third-placed finisher.

    But Germany face a highly motivated Hungary side, who will themselves make the last 16 with a win after drawing at home to France.

    The only previous occasion on which the teams met in the group stage saw Germany fall to a record defeat, 8-3 at World Cup 1954. They did recover to beat Hungary in the final, however.

    And the Magyars have not won their final group match since the 1966 World Cup.

    Marco Rossi acknowledges the odds are stacked against his side, describing simply qualifying for the tournament as a "major achievement" on the eve of the match.

    "We play against three teams that may get to the semi-finals and play in London," he said.

    "Our group has been called a 'Group of Death' and evidently the one to fall there is Hungary. In theory, it's hard to disagree with someone making such a prediction."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Germany – Kai Havertz

    Chelsea team-mate Timo Werner has so far been kept on the fringes, but Havertz became Germany's youngest ever European Championship scorer at 22 years and eight days old against Portugal. Only three younger players – Thomas Muller (20 in 2010), Franz Beckenbauer (20 in 1966) and Lukas Podolski (21 in 2006) – have scored in consecutive tournament games for Germany, as Havertz could.

    Hungary – Roland Sallai

    Hungary have only scored once so far at this tournament, but Sallai assisted Attila Fiola's strike against France and is suddenly a man in form for his country. Sallai has also scored twice in his past four international appearances, his three goal involvements as many as in his first 20 games for Hungary.

    KEY OPTA FACTS

    – Germany and Hungary's only previous meeting in Munich was 110 years ago, in a friendly played in December 1911 at the city's MTV-Platz stadium. Hungary won 4-1.

    – Under Joachim Low, Germany have beaten Hungary both times they have met – both friendlies, by an aggregate scoreline of 5-0 (3-0 in Budapest in 2010, 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen in 2016).

    – Hungary are without a win in each of their past five matches at the European Championship (D3 L2) since a 2-0 victory against Austria in 2016. Indeed, that 2-0 win versus Austria is their only clean sheet in their 10 matches in the competition.

    – Against Portugal last time out, Germany's four goals took them to 302 scored overall in major tournaments (World Cup and Euros); indeed, no other European nation have yet reached 200 such goals (France 184 next highest).

    – Fiola has scored two goals in his past four appearances for Hungary, after failing to score in his first 33 games for his country. Indeed, Fiola (31y, 122d) is the second-oldest player to score for Hungary at the European Championship after Zoltan Gera (37y 61d) against Portugal at Euro 2016.

  • Bayern respond after UEFA turns down request for 'rainbow lights' at Allianz Arena Bayern respond after UEFA turns down request for 'rainbow lights' at Allianz Arena

    Bayern Munich have responded after UEFA rejected a request for Germany to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for Wednesday's Euro 2020 clash with Hungary due to political reasons.

    Club president Herbert Hainer expressed regret at the decision from the European governing body, while stressing his club's continued commitment to supporting diversity.

    UEFA expressed its own support and understood the gesture but proposed alternative dates for the stadium to be lit up, rather than on the day of the Hungary game.

    Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter asked UEFA for permission to illuminate the stadium in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

    He made the request to European football's governing body after Hungary passed a law that prohibits the sharing of content in schools that could be deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change.

    "We would have liked it if the Allianz Arena could have been lit up in rainbow colours on Wednesday," Hainer said on Tuesday in response to the UEFA decision.

    "Open-mindedness and tolerance are fundamental values that our society and FC Bayern stand for.

    "That is why FC Bayern has lit up its stadium in the colours of diversity, for example on Christopher Street Day, for several years."

    In announcing the decision, UEFA stressed its own commitment to fighting against any form of discrimination.

    "Racism, homophobia, sexism, and all forms of discrimination are a stain on our societies – and represent one of the biggest problems faced by the game today," read the release from UEFA.

    "Discriminatory behaviour has marred both matches themselves and, outside the stadiums, the online discourse around the sport we love.

    "However, UEFA, through its statutes, is a politically and religiously neutral organisation.

    "Given the political context of this specific request – a message aiming at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament – UEFA must decline this request.

    "UEFA has nevertheless proposed to the city of Munich to illuminate the stadium with the rainbow colours on either June 28 – the Christopher Street Liberation Day – or between July 3 and 9, which is the Christopher Street Day week in Munich."

    Christopher Street Day is an annual European LGBTQ+ celebration and demonstration held in various cities across Europe, supporting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

  • England duo Mount and Chilwell told to isolate up to and including June 28 England duo Mount and Chilwell told to isolate up to and including June 28

    England duo Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell will miss the match with the Czech Republic and must self-isolate up to and including June 28.

    It was confirmed on Monday that the Chelsea players had begun isolating after being deemed close contacts of Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for coronavirus after Scotland's 0-0 draw with England at Wembley last Friday.

    The Football Association said the precautions had been taken after consultation with Public Health England, despite both players returning negative PCR and lateral flow test results.

    On Tuesday, the FA said Chilwell and Mount will train individually in private areas of England's St. George's Park base, where the rest of the squad will return after their final Group D match with the Czech Republic.

    It means that, should England win and top the group, Mount and Chilwell will miss the last-16 match, which takes place on June 29.

    If Gareth Southgate's side fail to take three points, they will finish second in the group behind the Czech Republic, meaning their first knockout match will be on June 28.

    England said via Twitter: "We can confirm that Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount must isolate up to and including next Monday [28 June]. This decision has been taken in consultation with Public Health England.

    "The pair were confirmed overnight as close contacts of Scotland’s Billy Gilmour after his positive test following last Friday's match.

    "Chilwell and Mount will isolate and train individually in private areas at England’s training base St. George's Park, with the rest of the squad returning there after tonight's fixture against Czech Republic at Wembley.

    "We will continue to follow all COVID-19 protocols and the UEFA testing regime, while remaining in close contact with PHE.

    "The entire England squad and staff had lateral flow tests on Monday and all were again negative, as was the case with Sunday's UEFA pre-match PCR tests. 

    "Further tests will be carried out as and when appropriate."

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