Podolski defends Ozil after penalty miss against Bayern
Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski has backed compatriot and teammate Mesut Ozil after the Germany international missed the chance to give the Gunners the lead in the 2-0 defeat against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old midfielder was given the opportunity to draw first blood in an intense first-leg of the last-16 stage of the Champions League. However, Ozil’s cool walk before the kicking the ball gave Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neur enough time to judge the direction of the shot and palm it away to safety.
Eventually, the Champions League winning side ended their trip of London with a 2-0 win with Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny being sent off for a tackle on Arjen Robben and the resulting spot-kick being missed by David Alaba. The goalscorers in the night for Bayern Munich were Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller.
After the game Ozil was lambasted by Arsenal fans for missed the spot-kick and for making a ghost appearance on the pitch during the later stage of the game. Podolski didn’t receive any playing time on the pitch, but he jumped to the defense of Ozil through his Facebook account after the game.
“Everybody is disappointed because of yesterday's result,” Podolski wrote. “However, that's football. It's not fair to diss Mesut. Critique is part of sports and this is good -- but polemic is not. “Picking one player out doesn't help the collective and the whole club neither! He's an outstanding player who will make all of us happy in future.
“A missed penalty won't change that. This happens to me and to every footballer. Friends stand together. So lets go! Poldi.”
Podolski message of Facebook arrived a few hours after Ozil published an apology to Arsenal fans for the penalty miss. The Germany international admits he should have been better and apologized for missing the opportunity to give his side a crucial lead.
“The next morning doesn't feel better either,” Ozil wrote. “Sorry guys -- it wasn't planned that way. Outnumbered it was really hard to win against this team.”
Arsenal will now head to Allianz Arena for the second leg of the last-16 tie. Arsenal were defeated at home during the last-16 stage by Bayern Munich last season as well. The Gunners then went to Germany to defeat Bayern Munich at home. Therefore, all hope is not yet lost for Arsenal. There is a pretty good chance Arsene Wenger’s men are preparing for a dramatic comeback.