Frankenstadion: Home of Nuremberg(credit: Wikipedia
Michael Ballack’s return to fitness has given Bayer Leverkusen a major boost, according to coach Jupp Heynckes.
Ballack, who has battled injury throughout his first campaign with Werkself, completed the full 90 minutes of last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Hannover 96 and is expected to be in the starting XI for this afternoon’s visit to Nuremberg.
And Heynckes believes the return of the former Chelsea star has taken his second-placed side to another level as they try to close the gap on leaders Borussia Dortmund, who have a 12 point advantage but have played one more game.
He said: “Michael is more relaxed after coming through 90 minutes and that is inspiring the others.
“He is respected and accepted. Everybody is feeling that he is just the player that we needed to have even more self-confidence.”
Bayer Leverkusen are currently enjoying a three-match winning run, which includes a victory over Dortmund, while Nuremburg will be buoyed by the 2-0 win over Hamburg last time out.
Watch Nuremberg v Bayer Leverkusen live at bet365, kicking off at 14.30 GMT.