By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Philipp Lahm has hailed Mesut Ozil as “the most intelligent player in Europe” in a ringing endorsement of Arsenal’s playmaker.
Bayern Munich captain Lahm described his fellow World Cup winner as the brains behind Arsenal ahead of their second Champions League showdown in 15 days.
Lahm said: “Mesut is probably the most intelligent player I have ever played with, he is probably the most intelligent player in Europe today.
“Mesut sees things only he can — his vision is as good as I have ever seen.It was laughable when he was being questioned after his move to Arsenal.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are, everybody needs time to settle in a new league. Especially a league like England, where you don’t get as much time on the ball, and of course the game is a lot more physical.
“People don’t necessarily understand his game, he isn’t there to run at players or even beat them, he is far more intelligent than that.
“He finds space and creates chances for his team mates, and you only need to look at the assist table to understand there is nobody better than him at that.”
Ozil has become a key figure in Arsenal’s Premier League title challenge, and his two assists against Swansea last Saturday made it nine in total for the German this season, more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues.
The Germany playmaker has also created 47 chances this season and Arsenal will need him at his best in the Allianz Arena if they are to defeat Bayern again keep their Champions League hopes on track.
“Arsenal have a very good team, but it is the form of Mesut that has turned them into challengers,” said Lahm.
“They are seriously challenging Manchester City for the title in England, and even after a poor start in Europe they can challenge for the Champions League.
“We don’t get beaten often, but we did in London. That would have given Arsenal confidence, and I am sure they now have the belief they can come to Munich and get a good result.”
Despite the victory over Bayern at Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago, the Gunners’ Champions League hopes remain on a knife-edge.