The Nearly Men ⋆ An Old International

The Nearly Men

Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack…the list could be continued and will be in the future. But what these players have in common is a successful playing career with their club sides and defeat on the international stage. Sometimes bitter defeats, sometimes truly deserved. This piece will highlight both players’ highs and lows and near misses.

Ballack and Vizekusen

The early 2000s saw the best period in the history of Bayer 04 Leverkusen, yet there were no titles. In 2000 they finished second and again in 2002. Within a matter of two weeks, Bayer lost the German Cup Final, the league title and the Champions League Final. Ballack was heart and captain of the 2002 squad and later that year Germany were runners-up in the World Cup Final against Brazil. Once more a winners medal eluded Ballack. The move to Bayern M

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