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Former Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski defends Cologne supporters

Mark Ogden discusses whether British clubs would receive similar coverage had their fans behaved the same as Cologne's fans during the Europa League match against Arsenal.

Former Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski has defended Cologne supporters after crowd problems at the Europa League game at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

The match was delayed by an hour as thousands of visiting fans outside the stadium prevented Arsenal supporters from getting to the turnstiles.

An estimated 20,000 Cologne supporters travelled to the game as their club began a first European campaign for 25 years, despite Arsenal having only allocated around 3,000 tickets.

Thousands managed to buy tickets meant for home fans, but the atmosphere was largely peaceful throughout the match, which Arsenal won 3-1.

Former Germany international Podolski, a Cologne fan and former player who is now at J1 League side Vissel Kobe, wrote on Twitter: "Cologne don't need to hide or be ashamed and it was just an insane atmosphere, better than in Champions League."

He accused the media of "always looking for a needle in a haystack," which they found when some Cologne supporters tried to force their way into the stadium.

He added: "Because of 50 folks everything's decried. Ridiculous!

"50 from 20,000. It's much worse at every Oktoberfest or other events. Where's the outrage there?"

UEFA has charged Cologne and Arsenal following the problems.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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