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No fine for outspoken Podolski after Ballack row

2 April 2009 14:45

BERLIN (AFP) - Striker Lukas Podolski has escaped a German Football Federation (DFB) fine despite his on-field spat with captain Michael Ballack in the 2-0 win over Wales, it was revealed Thursday.

Ballack and Podolski clashed in the second half of the World Cup qualifier at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Wednesday, but despite the Bayern Munich star arguing fiercely with his captain, the DFB will not fine the 23-year-old.

Germany coach Joachim Loew revealed the argument erupted when Ballack gave Podolski a tactical instruction and laid the blame firmly at the striker's door.

"If the captain gives a player a tactical instruction, then that player must obey," said Loew.

"That is absolutely clear. Lukas has to listen to an experienced player like Michael Ballack."

Ballack and Podolski exchanged heated words on the Cardiff pitch and the spat was only ended when Germany defenders Per Mertesacker and Philipp Lahm intervened while Loew then immediately replaced Podolski.

And DFB team manager Oliver Bierhoff said Podolski would not be fined or disciplined over the incident.

"The DFB find it hard to take disciplinary measures in this situation," said Bierhoff.

"There will be no fines or special sanctions."

Podolski later insisted the matter had been dealt with behind closed doors in the dressing room.

"Sometimes these things happen on the pitch," said Podolski.

"For me, the matter is closed and have been dealt with.

"Anyone can see I am a player who sometimes shows emotion, but I don't clear these things up in public.

"We are professional enough to discuss these things in private."

Just as he did in the 4-0 win over Liechtenstein last Saturday, Ballack under-lined his position as one of Germany's few world-class players with a superb strike against the Welsh which leaves his side four points clear at the top of their qualifying group.

But while Loew said he is happy with the six points from two games, the Germany coach added he wished his side had been more dominant against the Welsh.

"Particularly after the second goal, I wished we had raised the pace of the game and scored a third goal," said Loew.

"But perhaps the players were just a little distracted by forthcoming Champions League and Bundesliga matches."

With five wins and a draw from their six games, Germany are on 16 points while Russia are on 12 pts with a game in hand and the group looks set to be decided when the two sides meet in Moscow in October.

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