Bundesliga - Ballack wins on Leverkusen debut

Reuters - Sun, 22 Aug 19:47:00 2010

Michael Ballack celebrated a winning return to the Bundesliga after four years at Chelsea, with Bayer Leverkusen beating hosts Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in their season opener.

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Ballack, who played for Leverkusen until his 2002 move to Bayern Munich, returned from Chelsea in the close season.

"What I am still lacking is power," said the 33-year-old midfielder, who lasted the full 90 minutes after recovering from an ankle injury that saw him miss the World Cup in South Africa.

"But I am happy I played the full game. The coach asked me a few times but I was just happy to play through."

Leverkusen, among the title favourites, grabbed a deserved lead in the 19th minute when Tranquillo Barnetta completed a swift passing move between him, Gonzalo Castro and Arturo Vidal that left the defence dazed.

With Dortmund still rattled by the goal, Leverkusen struck again three minutes later with a solo effort from Renato Augusto.

Dortmund tried to cut the deficit in the second half and Nuri Sahin came close but his curled free kick was palmed over the bar by Germany international keeper Rene Adler.


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