Bayer Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes has told Michael Ballack he must get used to being a substitute after the Germany captain requested not to be considered for yesterday's match against Wolfsburg since he did not want to sit on the bench.
Ballack informed Heynckes of his decision on Friday and rather than taking his place on the bench at the BayArena yesterday, he trained alone.
"He told me that, the way things are at the moment, he cannot help the team from the bench," revealed Heynckes.
"Michael is not used to being on the bench. He has played his whole life in the starting XI. But things like this should be decided together."
Heynckes also revealed that Ballack could well have started yesterday's game, had he not pulled out of the squad.
"Ballack did not know on Friday that we would have such health problems," added Heynckes, who took a swipe at Ballack's attitude by explaining how Sami Hyypia had wanted to be with the squad at all costs, despite having an intestinal flu.
"He still wanted to sit on the bench," said Heynckes.
"He is a fantastic professional and I have never had anybody like him."
Leverkusen won the game 3-0 to return to second in the table, seven points clear of fourth-placed Bayern Munich and well on course for a place in the Champions League next season.
"We have taken an excellent opportunity to defend second spot and my team did that in a fantastic manner," added Heynckes.
Wolfsburg, on the other hand, are in serious relegation danger once again and their managing director Dieter Hoeness expressed his fears.
"We are in a battle to avoid relegation, yet what we showed today was not a battle," he said.