Two-goal Podolski impresses Germany boss
Under-fire Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski answered criticism by German team manager Oliver Bierhoff and impressed national head coach Joachim Loew with two goals against Ecuador on their two-match tour of the USA.
"He put in a class performance with two goals, he ran hard and showed plenty of fighting spirit," said Loew after Germany beat Ecuador 4-2 in Wednesday's friendly in Boca Raton, Florida.
"He has already showed repeatedly in recent years how important he is for our team."
Podolski needed just nine seconds to pounce on a mistake in the Ecuador defence and slot home the first of his two goals, adding a second on 17 minutes, to leave him with 46 goals, taking him past Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to sixth in Germany's goal-scoring charts.
The 27-year-old said his double strike was not motivated by Bierhoff's comments at the start of the week, but he admitted he was surprised by the remarks that he had "stagnated" after spending the season at Arsenal after moving to London from Cologne.
"I was blind-sided by the comments. You can't goad me before every training session," said the Arsenal star after his 109th international appearance.
"Everyone is allowed to express criticism, that goes without saying, but it's important that it comes from people who work with me every day - including the coaches."
After racing into a 4-0 lead, thanks to Podolski's brace, plus two from Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, Germany allowed Ecuador to come back with goals from Manchester United midfielder Antonio Valencia and Monterrey's Walter Ayovi.
Germany now face the USA in Washington DC on Sunday, with Loew saying he was using the two-match tour to assess his squad ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"Of course, some established players are not here, but we need 30 players, not just 15 or 20, because of injuries. We need the competition," said Loew, with his Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund stars missing due to the Champions League final.
"This trip is extremely important for the players here to show what they can do."
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