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Statistical breakdown of UCL semis

Five Aside
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JuventusJuventus
Real MadridReal Madrid
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 1
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Podolski: Don't blame Ozil for loss

Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski has voiced his support for under-fire teammate Mesut Ozil following his missed penalty against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

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Cross: Arsenal need to avoid Bayern hangover

Ozil, 25, had a chance to give the Gunners an early lead during the Champions League last-16 first leg, only to see his spot kick saved by Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

The European champions went on to claim a 2-0 win against an Arsenal side that had Wojciech Szczesny sent off, and many have pointed the finger at the former Real Madrid man for the way the game played out.

However, Podolski, 28, who was an unused substitute at the Emirates Stadium, took to Facebook on Thursday to stick up for his German compatriot.

“Everybody is disappointed because of yesterday's result,” he wrote. “However, that's football. It's not fair to diss Mesut. Critique is part of sports and this is good -- but polemic is not.

“Picking one player out doesn't help the collective and the whole club neither! He's an outstanding player who will make all of us happy in future.

“A missed penalty won't change that. This happens to me and to every footballer. Friends stand together. So lets go! Poldi.”

Podolski’s message follows on from Ozil’s own apology for the miss, posted on Facebook just a few hours earlier.

“The next morning doesn't feel better either,” he wrote. “Sorry guys -- it wasn't planned that way. Outnumbered it was really hard to win against this team.”

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