Lahm must play at right-back, says Ballack

The former Germany player believes Joachim Low must return the Bayern Munich star to the defence from his current place in the centre of midfield

Former Germany captain Michael Ballack has urged Joachim Low to play Philipp Lahm at right-back for the remainder of the World Cup.

The current captain has been utilised as a central midfielder at Bayern Munich for most of the season under Pep Guardiola and Low has followed that example by utilising him in the middle of the park for the national team.

Following the injury to Shkodran Mustafi, Low has been urged to return Lahm to his natural position, but has already insisted he will remain in the centre of midfield. However, Ballack insists the 30-year-old should be put back into the back line.

“I still believe we need Philipp to play in the back four for Germany,” he told Times of India. “He is much more valuable there. He has played there for years and has turned into a world-class player and he is one of the best.

“Why should we rob ourselves of Lahm in a position the whole world envies us for? We, as Germany, only weaken ourselves by playing someone else as a right or left-back.

“Lahm is taking away a place in the middle of the park for another world-class player. And that’s Bastian Schweinsteiger for me.

“Joachim Low needs to take a wise decision for the remainder of the tournament with Mustafi out, so that we can win the title.

“Low needs to use Lahm as a wing-back and play in the middle with either Schweinsteiger and Kroos or Schweinsteiger and Khedira.”

The former Bayern Munich player praised Low for sticking by Mesut Ozil, who he hopes will become more influential in the rest of the tournament.

“I’m surprised by the critical views on Mesut Ozil’s performance. For me, he is and remains an extraordinary player for Germany.

“Ozil hasn’t had a good tournament so far but maybe his late goal against Algeria in the pre-quarters will give him the confidence to be a match-winner for Germany going ahead.

“Other nations envy us for having players like Ozil and Gotze. But I find it positive that Low backs Ozil through all this criticism. Not only him, Low does it in general with his players.”

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