Back Neuer, Ozil urges Germany fans
Mesut Ozil has asked Germany fans to show some support for Manuel Neuer after the Bayern Munich goalkeeper was jeered in the second half of Germany's win over Kazakhstan in Nurnberg.
A Neuer mistake, which happened a minute after half-time, enabled the visitors to pull a goal back and make the score 3-1, with Germany eventually winning 4-1.
German media outlets offered several theories for the treatment meted out to Neuer - one being that, as a Bayern player in the Franconian city of Nurnberg, he was unlikely to get a warm reception.
Others suggested that fans remained traumatised by the Euro 2012 semi-final defeat to Italy and Sweden's stunning comeback from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 in Germany in October and were quicker to find a scapegoat.
"The loss against Italy and the weird game against Sweden have deeply burned into the national football consciousness," Die Zeit commented, while Sueddeutsche wrote: "Ever since the 1-2 against Italy and the 4-4 against Sweden, a shot hitting the German post is not just a shot hitting the German post for the spectators. It is an occasion to remind them of the torturers Balotelli and Ibrahimhovic."
In his column for kicker magazine, Germany and Real Madrid midfielder Ozil said he was surprised by the treatment of Neuer.
"Our young team has developed over the past few years. The attractive and attacking football with quick combinations and several goalscoring opportunities is getting international attention," he said.
"Togetherness has been created that is as much fun for the players as it is for the spectators. That's why it is surprising that, after Manuel Neuer's mistake, the atmosphere tipped against him.
"I do not think he deserves it. It is recognised what a great goalkeeper we have wherever I travel. Manuel has shown his class several times, and has helped the team a lot with his attacking style of play. He should be allowed a mistake. He deserves support in such moments."