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  Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Ballack tops German poll
Michael Ballack is congratulated by Germany coach Rudi Voeller
Ballack is congratulated by Germany coach Voeller
Michael Ballack has been voted Germany's player of the year - ahead of Bayern Munich team-mate Oliver Kahn in the annual poll conducted by Kicker magazine.

Ballack received 433 votes from the country's sports journalists. Kahn got 345, with FC Kaiserslautern forward Miroslav Klose a distant third at 35.

The 25-year-old, a prolific goalscorer despite playing in midfield, has signed for Bayern Munich this season, but the honour was based on his performances with Bayer Leverkusen last year and with Germany's World Cup team.


The award is highly deserved - over the entire year, he performed the best
Germany coach
Rudi Voeller

"I'm incredibly happy about this," said Ballack. "This is also an award for Bayer Leverkusen. After all, soccer is a team sport."

Ballack scored three goals over two legs as Germany qualified for the World Cup by beating Ukraine in the play-offs.

His goals also helped Bayer Leverkusen to the final of the Champions League.

Germany coach Rudi Voeller said the poll had found the right man.

"The award is highly deserved. Over the entire year, he performed the best," said Voeller.

Kahn, generally acknowledged to be the world's best goalkeeper, won the award last year and was also voted the top player of the World Cup.

Klaus Toppmoeller
Toppmoeller won the best coach award

Bayer Leverkusen coach Klaus Toppmoeller was voted Germany's coach of the year.

He received 396 votes, ahead of Matthias Sammer with 163 and Voeller with 161.

"This is wonderful recognition for the whole coaching staff of Bayer and for me - not more and not less," said Toppmoeller.

"As much as I'm happy with the award, I'd rather have won one of the three titles."

Leverkusen just missed out on the league title and reached the German Cup final as well as losing the Champions league final to Real Madrid.

See also:

14 Aug 02 | Champions League
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