Ozil: A very special game
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Mesut Ozil insists he will feel no split loyalties when Germany take on Turkey in a key UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier on Friday in Berlin.

The 21-year-old German born midfielder has Turkish parents but opted to play for the country of his birth, first wearing the Germany shirt in February 2009.

Some outstanding performances at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ earned him a multi-million euros transfer to Real Madrid and Ozil says he will have no problem playing against the country of his ancestors on Friday.

"This is obviously a very special game. I am looking forward to playing against my friends," said Ozil, a former Schalke 04 team-mate of Turkey midfielder Hamit Altintop.

"Our goal is to take another step closer to the European Championships," he said.

"I'm proud of my country. For me, no other nation would do."
21-year-old Ozil makes his position clear.

Around 30,000 Turkey supporters are expected in Berlin's Olympic Stadium as 1.66 million Turks and 700,000 Germans of Turkish origin live in Germany.

Ozil speaks fluent Turkish and is proud of his roots, but is just as proud to wear the white shirt of Germany.

"I'm from the third generation born here, I grew up here and feel very comfortable," he said, "I'm proud of my country. For me, no other nation would do."

With both sides having won their opening qualifiers, the match is set to be a tense affair. Ozil says Germany can ill afford to underestimate Turkey. The Turks have already beaten Kazakhstan and Belgium in Group A last month, while Germany beat Belgium in Brussels and Azerbaijan at home.

"They are technically gifted and strong as a team. They also have a very good coach in Guus Hiddink," said Ozil who praised Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin.

"Nuri is a class act, he has developed very well," said Ozil.

Turkey will be without playmaker Arda Turan after the Galatasary star picked up a groin injury in training. The 23-year-old left winger is expected to be out for up to eight weeks.

Likewise Germany will be without chief midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger after he damaged ankle ligaments playing for Bayern Munich last week. The national side are already missing captain Michael Ballack for the match.

"We have always managed to compensate for injuries such as that of Michael Ballack before the World Cup," team manager Oliver Bierhoff said.

"But it will make things difficult against Turkey as a good midfield partnership has been torn apart.

"Schweinsteiger, alongside (Real Madrid's Sami) Khedira really played well at the World Cup," said Bierhoff.

Although none of his strikers are in form, Germany coach Joachim Low is expected to put his faith in Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, despite the pair under-performing in the Bundesliga this season.

Klose and Podolski rarely fail to play well for the national side. At 25 years of age, Podolski has already won 81 caps for his country and scored 41 goals. Meanwhile, the 32-year-old Klose has scored 55 goals for his country and won 103 caps.