Arsenal v Bayern Munich: Philipp Lahm says Mesut Ozil can 'punish' Bayern, despite critics rounding on the Arsenal playmaker

The £42.5m signing from Real Madrid will take his place in the starting line-up for the Gunners in tonight's Champions League last-16 first leg

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The Independent Football

After making a stunning start to his Arsenal career, Mesut Ozil has gone somewhat off the boil and the critics have been quick to point out the German's failings.

BT Sport pundit Michael Owen said the £42.5m signing from Real Madrid is "inconsistent", former Germany international Markus Babbel says he needs to bulk up while Match of the Day's Alan Shearer says he needs to start "earning" his money at the Emirates.

Piers Morgan, never shy of voicing an opinion, has also been among those to stick the boot in. "Hey @MesutOzil1088 - you're a fantastic player. But show us your HEART too. That's what we want to see," he tweeted earlier this month.

However, for all the criticism, Bayern Munich are wary of the threat Ozil could pose in tonight's match.

The captain of the German champions, who knocked Arsenal out of the Champions League at this stage of the competition last season, says Ozil is a "very intelligent player" and went on to sing his praises.

"Many of the players at Bayern know exactly what Mesut is capable of - he has been one of the best central midfield players in the world for many years now," Lahm told


Even if Ozil's recent problems continue in tonight's game, the Germany international is still capable of turning a game says Lahm.

"Even when he is maybe not having the best of games or is not in the best form - you can't give him any space or time on the ball - because in a second he can find that pass and you are punished."