Germany captain Michael Ballack has been dropped by national coach Joachim Loew for next month’s Euro 2012 qualifiers.

The 33-year-old midfielder’s name was conspicuous by its absence from Loew’s squad released yesterday for the games against Belgium in Brussels on September 3 and Azerbaijan in Cologne four days later.

Ballack is still working his way back to fitness after suffering an ankle injury in May which ruled him out of last month’s World Cup.

Loew said in a statement: “Michael is going the right way after his injury and everyone is satisfied with the healing process. The important thing is that he rediscovers his best form at Leverkusen.”

According to the German FA Loew told Ballack of his decision by telephone.

With Ballack absent, defender Philipp Lahm is likely to retain the captaincy having led Germany to third place at the World Cup.

Loew was in Dortmund last Sunday to see Ballack make his first appearance back in the Bundesliga after four years in the Premier League with Chelsea as his side Bayer Leverkusen beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0.

After his injury, Ballack only returned to training at the start of August and has played only a Bundesliga and Europa League match.

As expected Loew has called up 17 members of his World Cup squad.

Out of contention are the injured Arne Friedrich, Jerome Boateng, Piotr Trochowski and Dennis Aogo, but back after missing the World Cup are goalkeeper Rene Adler and defender Heiko Westermann.

Looking ahead to Germany’s opening Euro 2012 qualifiers Loew said: “We want to win our first two games with the same football that we played at the World Cup.”

Germany squad

Goalkeepers: Neuer (Schalke 04), Adler (Bayer Leverkusen), Wiese (Werder Bremen).

Defenders: Badstuber (Bayern Munich), Jansen (Hamburg), Lahm (Bayern Munich), Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Riether (Wolfsburg), Westermann (Hamburg).

Midfielders: Khedira (Real Madrid), Kroos (Bayern Munich), Marin (Werder Bremen), Ozil (Real Madrid), Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Trasch (Stuttgart).

Forwards: Cacau (Stuttgart), Gomez (Bayern Munich), Kiessling (Bayer Leverkusen), Klose (Bayern Munich), Muller (Bayern Munich), Podolski (Cologne).

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us