Is underperforming Ozil in danger of losing his Germany spot?

Ozil Downcast

Mesut Ozil is widely regarded as one of the top players in world football, but could his dip in form cost him his place in the Germany side?

Ozil arrived at Arsenal in September in a blockbuster £42.5m switch from Real Madrid, giving hope to Gunners fans everywhere who had seen their side fall to a shocking 3-1 home defeat to Arsenal on the opening day of the season.

But their adulation has turned to disappointment, as the 25-year-old has turned in a number of anonymous performances in recent weeks, with manager Arsene Wenger admitting that Ozil is feeling the pressure of his lofty price tag, but believes he will return to his best soon.

He feels the pressure of course because he knows a lot is expected when you are a big transfer like that,” Wenger told the club’s official website. “There is a big expectation level but he shouldn’t worry about that, just play in the team, enjoy it and give his best. That’s the best way to deal with it.”

Whilst Ozil's place in the Arsenal side looks fairly secure despite his slump in form, there is a chance that he could be in danger of losing his spot in Joachim Low's Germany side ahead of this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Low publicly slammed Real Madrid's decision to sell Ozil, suggesting that he is a huge fan of the playmaker, but he must be considering alternative options ahead of the World Cup – and he isn't short of options.

Die Mannschaft have an abundance of outstanding midfielders, from Bastian Schweinsteiger to Toni Kroos, as well as Sami Khedira, Ilkay Gundogan and Bender twins Lars and Sven. But in Germany's 4-2-3-1 system, they primarily operate as pivots in front of the defence, whilst Marco Reus and Thomas Muller look set to feature on the flanks, leaving a spot open for a central playmaker.

For some time Ozil has been a virtual ever-present in that role, but the emergence of even more young German talent means Low can afford to drop Ozil if he sees fit, yet still use an outstanding player in his place.

The two primary candidates would be Mario Gotze of Bayern Munich and Schalke's Julian Draxler. Gotze has been outstanding since his controversial summer move from Borussia Dortmund to the Allianz Arena, scoring nine goals and also contributing six assists in an impressive debut season for the Bavarian side, compared to Ozil's four goals and eight assists.

Meanwhile, Draxler, who was a strong target for Arsenal in the January transfer window, could make a late push for a starting role after a great season for Gelsenkirchen side Schalke. But ultimately, Gotze has a much better shot of cracking into starting line-up, as the 21-year-old is currently starring in Bayern's bid for glory both domestically and in the Champions League. The game between Bayern and Arsenal on Wednesday could be a huge indicator of who should start for Germany, with Ozil needing a better performance than his recent displays.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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