Ballack, Gomez to miss Germany's Wembley trip

August 16, 2007

FRANKFURT, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Germany will be without captain Michael Ballack and striker Mario Gomez when they take on England in a friendly international at Wembley on Aug. 22.

Ballack has yet to recover from ankle surgery, while Gomez, Player of the Year in the Bundesliga last season, has a thigh injury.

Midfielders Torsten Frings and Tim Borowski and striker Lukas Podolski were also left out of a 20-man squad, named on Thursday, because of injury.

Midfielder Sami Khedira and defender Serdar Tasci, both of champions VfB Stuttgart, were called up for the first time by coach Joachim Loew.

'With Ballack and Frings out we're missing the heart of the team,' Loew said at a news conference.

'We're obviously in a tight spot with all the injuries but we aren't complaining, even though we'd love to have our best team to play England.'

Germany are five points clear at the top of Euro 2008 qualifying group D. Their next competitive match is away to Wales on Sept. 8.

'The game against England will be a good gauge in terms of the European Championship,' Loew said.

'It's an honour for us to be playing at the new Wembley. It's a sporting classic, like Wimbledon tennis or Formula One at Monaco. The atmosphere and setting should inspire the whole team.'

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Timo Hildebrand (Valencia, Spain), Jens Lehmann (Arsenal, England)

Defenders: Arne Friedrich (Hertha Berlin), Clemens Fritz (Werder Bremen), Marcell Jansen (Bayern Munich), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Christoph Metzelder (Real Madrid, Spain), Serdar Tasci (VfB Stuttgart)

Midfielders: Roberto Hilbert (VfB Stuttgart), Thomas Hitzlsperger (VfB Stuttgart), Sami Khedira (VfB Stuttgart), Simon Rolfes (Bayer Leverkusen), Bernd Schneider (Bayer Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Piotr Trochowski (Hamburg SV)

Forwards: Patrick Helmes (Cologne), Stefan Kiessling (Bayer Leverkusen), Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich), Kevin Kuranyi (Schalke 04)