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Ballack left waiting for place against former team Chelsea

Bayer Leverkusen's Michael Ballack must wait to find out if he will face his former club Chelsea on Tuesday in the Champions League despite a commanding performance in the German league.

Ballack left waiting for place against former team Chelsea
Image source: DPA

Having left Stamford Bridge last year, the former Germany captain, who turns 35 at the end of the month, was impressive in Friday night’s 4-1 Bundesliga win at Augsburg for Leverkusen which put his team top of the league before Saturday’s games.

Leverkusen have a strong midfield and coach Robin Dutt has been operating a rotational system.

The Premier League side host last season’s German runners-up at Stamford Bridge, but Ballack must wait to find out if he will start against his old club having spent four seasons in London.

“I was very happy with Michael Ballack, he was particularly strong going forwards,” said Dutt.

“Whether he plays on Tuesday against Chelsea, I do not know yet. There are many players fit for Tuesday, we are going to reveal who will play, but not yet,” Dutt said.

“The match at Chelsea will be very different. Augsburg kept us busy tonight and it is important that we regenerate quickly.”

Leverkusen and Chelsea are in Champions League Group E along with Valencia

and Belgian champions Genk.

AFP/smd

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SPORT

Spain thrown out of 2023 Rugby World Cup

Spain have been thrown out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup for fielding an ineligible South African-born player during the qualifying stages and will be replaced by Romania, World Rugby announced on Thursday.

Spain thrown out of 2023 Rugby World Cup

“Subject to Spain’s right of appeal, the 10-point deduction applied to the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification table means that Romania will qualify as Europe 2 into Pool B replacing Spain,” read the statement.

Portugal — who Spain beat to seal their place in the global showpiece in France next year — replace Romania in the Final Qualification Tournament taking place in November 2022.

“Spain has a right of appeal within 14 days of the date of the full written decision of the committee,” read the statement.

According to Spanish media in March, the player under investigation was South African-born prop Gavin van den Berg, who has been playing in Spain since 2018.

He played twice against the Netherlands, in 2020 and 2021, in qualifiers, but he may not seemingly have served the three years of residency needed to become eligible under World Rugby rules.

Spain, Romania and Belgium were all sanctioned in 2018 for having fielded ineligible players, opening the way for Russia to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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