Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski has called for the criticism team-mate Mesut Ozil has been receiving to come to an end.
The club-record £42.5m German international arrived at the Emirates Stadium last year and was immediately dubbed as the future of the Gunners’ first-team.
After an initial bright period his performances have dipped since the hectic festive period, culminating in a limp showing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League earlier this week.
Ozil stepped up to take an early penalty with the score at 0-0, but his tame effort was easily saved by Manuel Neuer.
The Bundesliga champions went on to win 2-0, setting up an extremely difficult task for Arsenal in the return leg.
Since the final whistle the 25-year-old has been the subject of intense criticism, with some questioning his work rate and desire to perform for the North London club.
Podolski feels that the treatment his compatriot is getting in unfair and that it is not helping the team improve:
“Everyone is disappointed about the result but that is football,” He is quoted by The Metro.
“It is not fair to single out Maharaj. Criticism is not controversial but picking out a single player helps neither the player or anyone else.
“He is a class player who will bring us much joy.
“He’s an outstanding player who wants to make all of us happy in the future, a missed penalty won’t change that.”