Germany’s Andre Schurrle says that support from his idol Michael Ballack has helped him during his side’s run to the World Cup’s semi-finals.
Having watched the midfielder guide Germany to the 2002 final as an 11-year-old, Schurrle would later go on to spend the 2011-12 season at Bayer Leverkusen with Ballack, before following in his footsteps by turning out for both Chelsea and the national team.
With the two now close friends, the Blues forward has revealed that the former captain has been sending him tips and texts messages throughout this summer’s tournament, as Die Mannschaft edge closer to sealing a fourth World Cup title.
‘I am in touch with him all the time,’ he said. ‘He texts me before every game to wish me luck and then after the games he sends another message congratulating me. He helps me a lot by giving me tips and that helps in these situations.’
Moving from Leverkusen to Chelsea last summer for a reported £18 million, Schurrle also noted that he had in fact started supporting the Premier League side when Ballack first joined them in 2006, such was his admiration for the now-club legend.
‘He was my idol. When he played at Chelsea I watched every match,’ he added. ‘I then had the pleasure to play in the same side as him at Bayer Leverkusen. That was big for me, it helped me a lot. He is a key figure in my career and I hope I can follow in his footsteps.’
Coming off a solid debut season in England, in which he scored eight times in 30 league games, the 37-time capped Schurrle has yet to start a match in Brazil but has made four substitute appearances thus far, notably grabbing the opening goal in the 2-1 extra-time win over Algeria in the last 16.
With Joachim Low’s team set to face a Neymar-less Brazil in Tuesday’s semi-final clash, the 23-year-old now wants to take inspiration from Ballack and go one better than Germany managed in South Korea and Japan 12 years ago.
‘I was watching it [the 2002 World Cup] on television at home with my family, starting to love football', he said. 'Ballack was amazing in that tournament.
‘We have this feeling. We are really close, and we all feel we have a big chance to win the World Cup. In the last few years we have come close in tournaments but now we want to win it.’