Germany’s Michael Ballack has acknowledged that his country’s hopes of qualifying for the knock out stage of Euro 2004 rest largely on his shoulders, but the Bayern Munich midfielder refuses to buckle under the pressure.

“I’m not putting too much pressure on myself,” Ballack said before Wednesday’s Group D decider against the Czech Republic.

“We have to win and somebody has to score, but it doesn’t have to be me.”

All of Germany strikers have struggled to make an impact at the championships, but Ballack, the most prolific scorer in the squad with 19 goals, could be the solution once again.

“It is very important that Michael Ballack can get near the box and in a position to score,” said coach Rudi Voeller.

Voller believes Ballack’s authoritative displays to date, confirm that he is a player for the big occasion.

“I am not surprised at all,” said Voeller. “We always knew what we had in him.”