Football

Germany star says lack of winter break is affecting Ozil

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As football fans across England look for a reason as to why the mecurial form of Mesut Ozil has disappeared in recent months, Thomas Muller has offered up his explanation - the lack of a winter break.

Muller, who scored the crucial second goal in Bayern Munich's 2-0 victory over Arsenal, believes Ozil is finding it tough to come to terms with the gruelling Premier League schedule.

Together with his Bayern Munich teammates, he enjoyed five weeks off from Bundesliga action between December and January, during which time Arsenal played eight games as opposed to the two FIFA World Club Cup matches that Bayern were involved in.

And Muller believes this has had a major impact on Ozil, and other players in the Premier League, he said: "It's not easy for Mesut because you have to play so many games - I
don't know how many games he has played for Arsenal without having a break.

"In the Bundesliga we have just had a month off. In England it's very hard to be a professional footballer. You have many more games than we do in Germany.

"But I hope Mesut has good games for Arsenal because he is a friend of mine and I know how good he can be."

Having missed a penalty in that 2-0 Champions League defeat, Ozil was taken out of the firing line by Arsene Wenger who didn't include his record signing in his 18-man match day squad.

Wenger's Gunners faired fine without their playmaker as they romped to a 4-1 win against struggling Sunderland, keeping them within a point of Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Ozil's absence from the squad is likely to be based on his physical well-being as opposed to his form, as Wenger will no doubt need him to be in peak physical condition in March, a month which will see Arsenal face Everton, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City in the league, as well as a trip to Bayern Munich for the return leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.

The 24-year-old Muller also suggested the busy schedule was hindering England's chances of performing well at major tournaments, and he has first hand experience of that having scored twice when Germany thrashed England 4-1 in the 2010 World Cup.
He added: "When England get to World Cups they look a bit tired. The body can recover but the head's another story."

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