Bayer - Ballack with stay

German club dismiss speculation over player's future

Ballack: Bayer insist he is important to the club

Bayer Leverkusen have assured veteran midfielder Michael Ballack that he has a future at the German club.

Ballack joined the 2002 beaten Champions League finalists last summer but has not been able to cement a place in the starting line-up yet.

The 34-year-old was left on the bench for Bayer's narrow 1-0 away victory over Stuttgart in the Bundesliga on Saturday afternoon and after the game, he left the stadium without speaking to any journalists.

Speculation over the future of the former Germany international at the BayArena has increased, but the club's director of sport, Rudi Voller, maintains that Ballack will continue to play for them.

"We are far more relaxed about this than many people think from the outside," said Voller.

"There are other players who are not playing at the moment too, and he played last weekend anyway (in 1-0 victory over Werder Bremen).

"We definitely need everybody. There will be times when other players will be glad of a break because they are worn out."

Robin Dutt's Bayer have made a good start to the 2011-12 league season, as they have collected six points from their opening three matches. They finished second in the Bundesliga last campaign and will compete in the Champions League this season.