The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Berti: Ballack is Europe’s best medio

Dumbarton (Scotland): Scotland coach Berti Vogts rated Bayern Munich’s Michael Ballack as the best midfielder in Europe on Tuesday but said he will not be the only German threat in Saturday’s Euro 2004 qualifier.

Vogts was impressed as he watched a Ballack-inspired Bayern lift the German Cup in Berlin and then Germany beat Canada 4-1 in a friendly in Wolfsburg last week.

“I watched Ballack in the Cup final and at the moment, I think he is the best European midfielder — best attacking midfielder,” said Vogts.

“He is one of the key players in Rudi (Voller)’s team, but we play against Germany, not Ballack and one year ago this team reached the World Cup final.”

West Ham United’s Christian Dailly will mark Ballack during the Group V match, though he doesn’t see it as his job alone to stop the Bayern playmaker.

“I don’t think it will be necessarily a man marking job. I certainly won’t be following him (Ballack) around the park as every player has a responsibility in that respect,” said Dailly.

“He’s rated one of the best midfielders in the world, but Germany have top players at top clubs all over the world.”

Vogts said his side, who drew 1-1 with New Zealand last week, were underdogs for the clash.

“We have only five million Scots here and Germany has 80 million people with 28,000 clubs and that is a difference.

“There is a lot of quality in the German side, but Saturday will be 11 against 11 over 90 minutes. We must give them a hard time and we prefer to be the underdogs.”

Germany lead the group on seven points, the same number as second-placed Scotland, but have played only three games to Scotland’s four. Third-placed Lithuania are also on seven points but from five games.

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