Ballack backs criticism with Friday goal
Michael Ballack scored against his former club in a 2-0 Bundesliga win for Bayer Leverkusen at Kaiserslautern on Friday, one day after criticizing his current teammates for a lack of ambition.
Kevin Trapp’s mistake allowed Ballack to score in the 54th minute, when the former Germany captain shot straight at the Kaiserslautern goalkeeper from 20 yards (meters), only to see the ball slip through Trapp’s fingers and into the net.
”Of course I’m sorry for the team. Mistakes happen. We go on,” Trapp said. ”I’ve to get it out of my head as soon as possible.”
Another former Kaiserslautern player, Sidney Sam, made the game safe in the 70th, when Lars Bender picked out the unmarked Leverkusen winger to score with a low shot.
”I always score against Kaiserslautern for some reason,” said Sam after scoring his fourth goal against the club. ”It can continue.”
Dorge Rostand Kouemaha and Konstantinos Fortounis missed early chances for the home side, before Ballack did likewise, while Trapp later atoned for his error with saves from Bender, Stefan Kiessling and Stefan Reinartz.
Ballack, who played with a protective mask after breaking his nose three weeks ago, has never lost in 14 games played against the club with which he made his Bundesliga debut in 1997.
”It was a masterful win,” Ballack said. ”We should have scored one or two goals early on – especially me.”
The 35-year-old said Thursday he did not expect to renew his Leverkusen contract, which expires at the end of the season, before describing the club as a ”sort of land of milk and honey.”
Leverkusen – which hosts Ballack’s previous club Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday – climbs to sixth while Kaiserslautern remains 12th ahead of the weekend’s games.