Ballack wants Germany to field 'real strikers'

Former Germany captain Michael Ballack has called for the national side to revert to "real strikers" in future after toying with a false number nine in recent matches.

Mario Gotze and Marco Reus have both been used by head coach Joachim Low in the past few months in a central position similar to that which Lionel Messi has made his own at Barcelona.

However, the ex-Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder has expressed his disappointment with the classic centre-forward spot being dropped and believes the team would benefit more with a more traditional striker in the middle of attack.

Ballack, who is currently without a club, told ZDF: "I'm still a fan of real strikers. The likes of Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose are needed.

"The game is fluid but when the ball comes into the box, you need a centre-forward. I doubt it [false nine] is a model for the future."

Germany eased past Kazakhstan on Friday night with a 3-0 victory and, though he prefers having traditional strikers, Ballack is pleased that his former team-mates have adapted with ease to Low's tactical changes.

"We can be happy that the team is able to play in such a system," he continued. "This shows how many outstanding players we have and all of their potential. That was not the case in the past."

Ballack and Low infamously fell out over the latter's decision to give Philipp Lahm the captaincy on a full-time basis after World Cup 2010, which Ballack missed, but the Mannschaft veteran insists that the pair's disagreements are in the past.

"We had a bad relationship [in the past]," the 36-year-old confessed. "That's what happens in football when coaches and players have different opinions. But it was a long time ago now."

Germany, who host Kazakhstan on Tuesday night, top Group C with 13 points after five games, and they are five points ahead of their nearest rivals Sweden in second place.

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