Germany comrades back Ozil to shine
Germany internationals Philipp Lahm and Lukas Podolski have given their backing to out-of-form compatriot Mesut Ozil.
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Arsenal midfielder Ozil is currently training with the German national team, where he has been able to put a rough patch for the Gunners to the back of his mind before a friendly meeting with Chile.
The 25-year-old has recently come in for some criticism, particularly in the wake of his performance in Arsenal's 2-0 first-leg defeat to Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League.
He was then left on the bench for a trip to Stoke - the hosts won 1-0 - but has been given a lift by his national team colleagues, who have tipped him to bounce back and silence the critics.
"Criticism is part and parcel of football," his Arsenal team-mate Podolski said at a press conference.
"I think Mesut is a fantastic player. He's going to give a lot of joy to Arsenal and to Germany.
"He's still young and a good friend of mine. He's played many great games and he will play many more.
"I think some of the criticism was a bit exaggerated and unfair at times."
Lahm, who will captain Germany on Wednesday night, says Ozil's temporary dip in form should not take anything away from what he has already shown for his country, Real Madrid and Arsenal.
"It's normal that there are ups and downs in your career," he said.
"Mesut is an extraordinary player and for Real Madrid and in the beginning at Arsenal, he was excellent, so we don't need to worry about Mesut.
"He'll find his top form again and I can't see any problems."
Should Ozil fail to rediscover his form over the next two months, he runs the risk of losing his place in the Germany squad for the World Cup with coach Joachim Low on Monday warning that nobody can consider their place safe.
"In theory, we have a good team, but the reality is different right now," he said.
"The clock is ticking. Some of my players are still showing deficiencies."