Werder Bremen's Clemens Fritz to hang up boots at end of season

Werder Bremen captain Clemens Fritz has announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

Fritz, 36, who has spent more than a decade at the club, suffered season-ending ankle ligament damage in March and has now said the time is right to call it a day.

"Since getting injured, I've given my future a lot of thought and listened to what my body has had to say,'' Fritz said on the Bremen website.

"Unfortunately I've experienced significant problems with my ankle that I haven't encountered before. Despite all the will in the world on my part, the injury means I am unable to resume my career as a sportsman with 100 percent fitness."

Fritz had considered retirement last summer, but agreed to stay on at a club which had narrowly avoided relegation from the Bundesliga.

This season has seen a remarkable turnaround in fortunes, with Bremen eighth in the table and still harbouring hopes of qualifying for Europe.

"The fact the club have turned a corner on the pitch in the meantime allowed me to make the decision with a clear conscience,'' Fritz added. "It was always a real honour to wear the Werder shirt.''

Bremen sporting director Frank Baumann said Fritz would continue to work for the club in a role to be determined.

Fritz, who joined from Bayer Leverkusen in 2006, has made 368 appearances for Bremen, lifting the DFB Pokal in 2009 and reaching the final of the UEFA Cup the following season. He has been capped 22 times by Germany.