Frings enjoys Ballack's backing

Germany midfielder Torsten Frings has thanked national team captain Michael Ballack for his support over the Werder Bremen star's axing by coach Joachim Low.

Ballack has called the dropping of Frings for the World Cup qualifiers against Russia and Wales 'disrespectful', with Low less than impressed by his skipper's public comments on the decision.

However, Frings said: "Michael has been around long enough to notice when something is not right. When he feels that something is not going right, then it is his right to speak up.

"Players who have already proven themselves do not get worked up over nothing. Michael has every right to speak out as the captain, he only wants what is best for the team."

Meanwhile, Schalke striker Kevin Kuranyi, who recently walked out of the Germany team after being omitted from the 18-man squad for the World Cup qualifier against Russia, is being linked with a return to Stuttgart.

It has been reported that Kuranyi's advisor, Karl-Heinz Forster, held talks with Stuttgart's sporting director Jochen Schneider last month.

"These discussions did take place" confirmed Forster. "It is no secret that Kevin had a great time at VfB.

"I have the feeling that VfB are considering Kevin. If Mario Gomez leaves, then Kevin will be an option for them."

At Bayern Munich, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is keen to tempt Bastian Schweinsteiger into signing a new contract with the club.

The 24-year-old, who has spent his entire career at the Allianz Arena, is out of contract at the end of this season.

Rummenigge said: "We are optimistic that a solution can be found. We are interested in keeping him here."

Schweinsteiger, who has made 160 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern, has already been linked with a transfer to Juventus next summer.