Philipp Lahm has called his Germany teammate Mesut Ozil the “most intelligent” footballer he’s played with and credits the Arsenal midfielder’s quality as the main reason for his team’s success this season.
Ozil, 27, and Lahm, 32, will be adversaries today 4th of November 2015 as Arsenal travel to Bayern Munich for the second of two Champions League group stage matches between the clubs. Arsenal beat Bayern 2-0 two weeks ago, with Ozil providing a late goal to clinch the win.
Ahead of the return match in Bavaria, Lahm has said Ozil, who is Europe’s top-rated attacking midfielder, is largely responsible for turning Arsenal into challengers.
“Mesut is probably the most intelligent player I have ever played with, he is probably the most intelligent player in Europe today,” said Lahm in the Mirror.
“Mesut sees things only he can — his vision is as good as I have ever seen.
“[Arsenal] 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.”
Ozil added two assists to his season tally in a 3-0 win against Swansea City last weekend. That brings his season total to nine, the most by any player in Europe’s top five leagues.
Lahm believes pundits were foolish to question whether or not Ozil would succeed at the Emirates, after he struggled at times in his first two seasons there.
Arsenal are level on points with Premier League table-toppers Man City. But the club still have plenty of work to do to advance to the Champions League knockout round, after dropping their opening two matches to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos.
More Ozil magic will be needed to help Arsenal move off the foot of the Group F standings, but Lahm believes his countryman’s style of play may be just the tonic.
“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,” Lahm said.
“He finds space and creates chances for his teammates, and you only need to look at the assist table to understand there is nobody better than him at that.”