We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk

News & Comment

Arsenal v Bayern Munich: Lukas Podolski is 'lazy' and Mesut Ozil needs to bulk up, says Markus Babbel

Former Bayern Munich and Liverpool defender has harsh words for the Gunners

Markus Babbel, the former Liverpool and Bayern Munich defender,claims that Arsenal will be no match for Bayern, and offered some backhanded complements for the Gunners' German contingent.

Babbel, who has been out of work since he was sacked as 1899 Hoffenheim manager in December 2012,  says that Arsenal have not improved from last season, when they lost 3-3 on aggregate in the Champions League round of 16.

Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger said that Arsenal were in a "better shape" than last year, but Babbel replied in Munich newspaper Muncher Merkur that the Champions league holders "won't have any problems" in taking care of the Premier League side.

"They are not better than last year and have many injuries," Babbel, who joined Liverpool from Bayern Munich in 2000, said. "If Bayern remain concentrated, Arsenal will not be problem. You see it in the Premier League: against the big teams they often lose."

Of Arsenal's German players, Babbel said he was surprised of the success that Lukas Podolski has had in England, as he was "too lazy" when he played in Germany.

"[Podolski] surprises me," said the 41-year-old. "I haven't given him the credit he deserves for the success he's had in England.

"Honestly, I thought he was too lazy at Bayern Munich and Koln, but he has emerged. When he is on the pitch, he is on fire."


Babbel added that the defender Per Mertesacker was "not exactly brilliant" when in his first matches for the Gunners after he joined in 2011, but did admit that he has worked hard and improved.

"Mertesacker is held in unbelievably high esteem at Arsenal because he fights for his spot in the team," he added.

"At the beginning, his performance were not exactly brilliant. But he never gave up. That impresses British fans."

On Mesut Ozil, the Gunners club-record £42m signing, Babbel says that he "still needs to work on his physicality" to be a success in the Premier League.