World Cup 2014: Mario Gotze and Mesut Ozil must both start for Germany, says Michael Ballack

Despite playing a similar role, both are worthy of inclusion

Germany's coach, Joachim Löw, must find space for both Mario Götze and Mesut Özil in his starting line-up at this World Cup, according to Michael Ballack.

Of all the issues facing Löw ahead of Germany's mouth-watering World Cup opener against Portugal in Salvador on 16 June, accommodating the talents of both his natural "No 10s" has sparked the most debate.

Neither player looked comfortable in Germany's 2-2 draw with Cameroon on Sunday – with the Arsenal man booed by supporters after a particularly subdued display.

A survey run by popular German tabloid newspaper Bild even found fans calling for Özil, the star of Germany's 2010 World Cup campaign, to be dropped by Löw.

But according to the former Germany captain, who scored 42 goals during his international career, Götze and Özil must both play – even if it means persisting with the former in an unfamiliar "false nine" role.

"If you see the talent Özil and Götze have, they both need their space. For good players there is always space in the team but they both like to play in the middle, behind the strikers," said Ballack at the premiere of Beats: The Game Before The Game.

The 37-year-old former Chelsea and Bayern Munich midfielder added: "In the past they didn't really play together, or one played on the wing. Löw chooses sometimes to play Götze as a striker, which I think is not his best position and he can't perform as well there compared to when he plays as a No 10. It's a big decision for the coach, especially now with just one striker going in the squad [Miroslav Klose], it looks like one of the two – maybe Götze – will be playing up front. For their quality, I think they have to play both."

After tomorrow's friendly against Armenia, Löw's squad fly out to Brazil and he will be hoping to leave the turmoil of the past fortnight behind.

Injury concerns to key players, including Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer and Philipp Lahm, had already darkened the mood, when Schalke team-mates Benedikt Höwedes and Julian Draxler were involved in a car accident at a driving event held at the team's camp in northern Italy last week, injuring two bystanders.

Ballack believes the incident and the media frenzy it triggered have affected the focus of the team. "It has not been the best preparation over the last two weeks," he said. "We had the accident which was around the team. It was a theme in the media, which kept the team a little bit not so focused on the basic work, so we are little bit... not scared, but doubtful about what has happened with the team.

"Against Cameroon we were not in the shape we expected but, as we know, there is still two weeks to go and, hopefully, they will get sharper and sharper so when the tournament starts they will be 100 per cent fit."

Ballack, who was named in Fifa's All Star team for the 2002 World Cup after inspiring Germany to the final in Yokohama, expects the South American sides to hold an advantage over their European counterparts.

"History shows it's always difficult for teams from outside of South America to win this title in that continent. Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil are strong teams this year.

"It will be really, really difficult for the best teams in Europe to beat them but I still think and believe that it's possible to see a winner from Europe this year."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)