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Podolski aware of international slump

Lukas Podolski says he can understand the recent criticism he has received from Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff.

Bierhoff claimed that Podolski's international career has come to a standstill, with the Arsenal forward having won only seven international caps during the 2012-13 season, including just one start.

The Poland-born player lost his starting berth on the left wing after Euro 2012, with the emergence of the likes of Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus, Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schurrle and Schalke's Julian Draxler making competition for places much tougher.

"In the national team it was a year of standstill," Bierhoff told kicker on Monday. "Poldi has noticed that, especially as with his winger position there are other players pushing for a starting place.

"Poldi feels the competition, it is great to see how professional he is and it is useful for the team with the way he copes with it."

When asked for a response by kicker to the comments later on Monday, Podolski accepted that his performances had not been up to scratch for Germany.

"If Mr Bierhoff sees it that way it is his opinion," he said. "If it goes uphill for several years, you can also have a standstill."

Podolski could win his 109th cap for Germany against Ecuador on Wednesday, making him the third most capped player in the nation's history.

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