German paper says time nearly up for Arsenal star, could be axed for the World Cup

Arsenal's Lukas Podolski is viewed as a symbol of Germany's recent past rather than a beacon of their future.

Germany managed a 1-0 win over Chile in their midweek friendly, a match Per Mertesacker described as their biggest test in recent months, arguably since the last World Cup.

Clubmate Mesut Ozil bore the brunt of a poor second half team performance as he was booed off the field in Stuttgart, minutes after another had just come on.

Lukas Podolski came on to win his 112th cap for Germany in the 83rd minute.

He was the third substitute of the game, with Andre Schurrle sent on ahead of him. With Thomas Muller and Julian Draxler both left out of the squad due to fitness and injury issues, Podolski may well wonder where he will be in the pecking order come the summer.

One view is that he shouldn't go at all. Currently having a stop-start season for Arsenal due to injury and rotation, he's done little to show that he merits the starting spot he has held during the last two World Cups.

It's the reason why German newspaper Der Westen believes he should not go to Brazil at all.

They published an editorial ahead of the midweek game entitled 'The time passes for the national team for Lukas Podolski.'

They write: "The man seems to belong to the inventory of the national team like the old oak wall unit in good German living rooms. 111 internationals. Still only 28 years old. My goodness, how time is slipping away at that.

"Whether he should still fill with joyful life that role at the World Cup, that depends on how many reserve players Joachim Loew has after deduction of the injured and weak form of the need for the offensive players."

Loew spoke last week of the fact he had little desire to make selections on nostalgia, and that's viewed as bad news for Podolski:

"This must be considered in this regard as a bad sign for various hitherto perceived as indestructible pieces on the team sheet."

They add that Podolski is seen as a 'complementary' player at best, with Mario Gotze and Toni Kroos examples of players in better form with more to offer.

Podolski has until the end of the season to show he is undroppable, and that he should go to Brazil able to contribute rather than just for the ride. Arsenal have everything to play for - and he is fresher than most. 

The time with the national side should push him on to produce his best form, and prove the doubters in his homeland wrong.

The bad news for these claims, is that Podolski is highly valued for his off-field contribution by Low - as shown by the fact he was brought to his press conference in midweek, and has a bond with his fellow Arsenal stars and many other first team members who he has been around for years in the squad. 

Does Low want to risk upsetting the applecart ahead of the tournament by leaving him out? We would be surprised if he did, but Podolski can't rely on those reasons alone and has to perform over the past few weeks of the season to show he merits his inclusion for football reasons.

image: © sdhansay

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