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Lukas Podolski ( ; born as on 4 June 1985) is a Germanmarker footballer who plays as a striker for Köln and is a member of the German national team.

Early life

Podolski was born to Krystyna Podolska, a former member of the Polish national handball team and Waldemar Podolski, former Polish football professional and the 1980 champion of Poland with Szombierki Bytommarker, in the Silesian industrial town of Gliwicemarker (near Katowicemarker), Polandmarker. In 1987, when Łukasz Podolski was two years old, his family emigrated from Poland to West Germanymarker and got the status as Aussiedler, but Podolski said in 2008 that he has Polish blood in him. Podolski grew up in Bergheim, North Rhine-Westphaliamarker, and later in Pulheimmarker, both near Cologne. He still has Polish citizenship, but he travels with a German passport.

Club career

Köln

Podolski began playing football at the age of six in the youth team of FC Bergheim, where he played until he joined Köln in 1995. It was there where Podolski's talents were first noticed. In 2003, at the age of 18, Podolski was still part of the club's youth side. At this time the club found itself in dire straits battling to avoid relegation from the Bundesliga. First team boss Marcel Koller, working on a shoestring budget, invited Podolski to train with the senior players and he made his top flight debut shortly afterwards on 22 November 2003. Even though Köln failed to avoid a drop to the 2nd division, Podolski had shown what he could do, scoring 10 goals in his first 19 senior appearances. This was the best tally by an 18-year-old in the history of the Bundesliga.

Though his call up to the German Euro 2004 squad brought along interest from several top clubs, Podolski stayed at Köln to help the club gain promotion in the 2004–05 season. With 24 goals, Podolski advanced to become the league's best scorer. Somewhat unusually, Podolski remained part of the Germany squad, even though he did not play in the national top-tier league.

After Köln were promoted, the pressure was on Podolski to keep the club in the Bundesliga practically singlehandedly. Podolski managed to score 12 goals in the 2005–06 season, but eventually, Köln were relegated again. It became clear that Podolski would not stay again to push them through the 2006–07 season—even more so, as Podolski was becoming an integral part of the national team.

Bayern Munich

In 2006, clubs such as Bayern Munich, HSV, Werder Bremen and even Real Madrid manifested their interest in Podolski, even though he had a contract with FC Köln through 2007. On 1 June 2006, Podolski announced that a transfer agreement had been reached with Bayern Munich, allowing him to join the Bavarian side for the 2006–07 season. Financial details of the deal were not immediately available, but the transfer fee was speculated to be around €10 million. He made his Bundesliga debut for Bayern on 11 August 2006 with a 2–0 victory against Borussia Dortmund, coming on as a substitute in the 88th minute. On 9 September 2006, he came on as a second half substitute in a DFB cup game versus FC St Pauli. Only 26 seconds after the second half started, he scored the equaliser, evening the match 1–1. On 14 October 2006, with his first Bundesliga goal for Bayern, Podolski helped to secure the club's 4–2 win over Hertha Berlin. On 26 October 2006, Podolski suffered a serious injury to his right ankle joint caused by teammate, Mark van Bommel, during a training session. Consequently, Podolski missed more than five match weeks. He returned from this injury and scored against Alemannia Aachen. He sometimes communicates with fellow Bayern and national team striker Miroslav Klose, who is also Polish-born, in Polish to hinder their opposition's understanding of their conversation.

When Bayern brought in Italian striker Luca Toni, "Poldi" was moved down the pecking order and received less playing time due to the coach's preference to partner Klose and Toni together instead. After a rather unhappy season at Bayern, he returned to former club Köln on 1 July 2009.

Return to Köln

After Podolski was assured by national team coach Joachim Löw that a return to Köln would not harm his chances of international football, an agreement to sign him was agreed between Bayern Munich and Köln on 20 January 2009, although he would not return to Köln until the start of the summer transfer window, on July 1. Podolski will return to Köln on a four-year contract, and the transfer is speculated to be around €10 million, equivalent to the fee Bayern paid to sign him in 2006. Köln created a website where people were able to buy pixels of an image of Lukas Podolski for €25 per 8x8 pixel square, in order to gather €1 million to reduce the cost of the transfer.

International career

International debut and breakthrough

In late 2003, after several impressive performances in his first few Bundesliga games, Polish media suggested then-Polish national team coach Paweł Janas to check Podolski out, as he was still eligible to play for Poland. Janas ignored the request stating in one of the press interviews that "as for today we have much better strikers in Poland and I don't see a reason to call up a player just because he played one or two good matches in the Bundesliga. He's not even a regular starter at his club." By that time Podolski was still interested in representing Poland, but as the season progressed more and more German media started to suggest to call up the striker to their national team. When his full potential was finally unveiled, he had already been persuaded to represent Germany. At the end of the season Köln were relegated, but Podolski impressed so much, that he celebrated his debut for Rudi Völler's Germany on 6 June 2004 in Kaiserslautern against Hungary with a late substitute appearance. He had become the first second-division player since 1975 to break into the national team.

Euro 2004

Podolski played for Germany at Euro 2004, where he was the squad's youngest player. He made one substitute appearance in the game against the Czech Republicmarker, when he came on for Torsten Frings at half-time.

World Cup 2006

Podolski was selected in the Germany squad for the 2006 World Cup, where he partnered Miroslav Klose in attack. He scored his first ever World Cup goal in Germany's third group match against Ecuador, and both goals in the 2–0 win over Sweden in the round of 16. By this, he became the first player since 1962 to score two goals in the first 12 minutes of a World Cup match and only the third man ever to accomplish the feat. Germany went to the semi-finals and lost to Italy 2–0 in extra time. They eventually won the third place match against Portugal. His three goals in the tournament tied him for second in the Golden Boot competition, which was won by his teammate Miroslav Klose with five goals. Podolski was tied with Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Fernando Torres, David Villa, Maxi Rodriguez, Hernán Crespo, and FIFA World Cup MVP (winner of the Golden Ball) Zinedine Zidane. Podolski was named the World Cup's Best Young Player before Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Euro 2008

In Euro 2008 qualifying game against San Marino in Serravallemarker Podolski netted four goals in Germany's record 13–0 thrashing. He is one of only four German players to score four goals in an international match. He was the third after Gerd Müller and Michael Ballack, and since this, Mario Gómez has accomplished this feat. In Germany's 4–1 win against Slovakia in Bratislavamarker on 11 October 2006, he scored the first and the last German goal, both on assists by Miroslav Klose. He has continued to score goals at an astonishing rate. On 17 November 2007, in a Euro qualifier match against Cyprus, Podolski was involved in every goal in Germany's 4–0 victory. This was one of Podolski's best performances for the national team. Even though he played out of his natural position, playing at left midfield, he netted one goal himself and was voted Man of the Match.

On Sunday 8 June 2008, Podolski made his Euro 2008 entrance against debutants Poland in a Group B match in Klagenfurtmarker, Austriamarker. He scored both goals in a 2–0 victory. He avoided celebrating his goals, however, to show respect for his country of birth. After the game he gave an emotional interview on Polish television. The goals put him in the lead in the Euro 2008 goal-scoring list for two days until David Villa scored a hat-trick for Spain against Russia.

On 12 June, Germany played Croatia in their second Group B match, again in Klagenfurt. Podolski scored the German team's only goal of the game in the 79th minute, by which time the Croatians were already leading 2–0. He did not celebrate this goal either despite it putting him joint first on the Euro 2008 goal-scoring list with David Villa. Podolski's goal was not enough to snatch a draw, with Croatia holding out for a 2–1 victory over Germany. On 19 June, Germany played Portugal in the quarterfinal in Baselmarker, Podolski was instrumental in the first goal, whipping a cross into the penalty box that slotted home by Bastian Schweinsteiger in the 22nd minute to give Germany a 1–0 lead.

On the international scene, Podolski seems to be gravitating towards an attacking left midfield role from his traditional place as a striker. Initially, Löw had moved him to the wing in order to accommodate the partnership of Klose and Mario Gómez up front. When this backfired, he resumed his forward position in the UEFA Euro 2008 Final, but was unable to prevent Germany losing 1–0 to Spain. In a controversial incident, Podolski was headbutted by Spanish midfielder David Silva, although this went unnoticed by the referee and his assistants, and went unpenalised. Lukas Podolski was named in the 23 man squad as one of the players of the tournament along with countrymen Michael Ballack and Philipp Lahm.

World Cup 2010

On 6 September 2008, Podolski scored the opening two goals in Germany's first World Cup 2010 qualifying game against Liechtenstein in Vaduzmarker; a match that ended in a 6-0 victory for the Germans. He scored the opener in the 2-1 home win over Russia on 11 October, when he turned Vasily Berezutsky on the edge of the penalty area, before unleashing a powerful shot past Russia's goalkeeper Akinfeev. As of 10 June 2009, he is currently the joint-top scorer in Group 4 with 4 goals. During one of the qualifying matches, he was involved in a bust-up with team captain Michael Ballack.

Despite enduring an unhappy domestic 2008-09 season, Podolski still maintained his scoring streak at international level, many times partnering Miroslav Klose to great effect.

Personal life

Podolski's longtime girlfriend Monika Puchalski gave birth to their first child, Louis, on 14 April 2008.

Career statistics

Club performance

All-Time Club Performance
Club Season Bundesliga DFB Cup European Competition Total
App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals
Köln 2003–04 19 10 1 0 - - 20 10
2004–05* 30 24 2 5 - - 32 29
2005–06 32 12 1 0 - - 33 12
Total 81 46 4 5 - - 85 51
Bayern Munich 2006–07 22 4 3 2 7 1 32 7
2007–08 25 5 4 0 12 5 41 10
2008–09 24 6 3 1 4 2 31 9
Total 71 15 10 3 23 8 104 26
Career Totals 152 61 14 8 23 8 189 82
*Played in Second Bundesliga.

International goals

Scores and results table. Germany's goal tally first:
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 21 December 2004 Rajamangala Stadiummarker, Bangkokmarker, Thailandmarker 3-1 5-1 Friendly
2. 21 December 2004 Rajamangala Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand 5-1 5-1 Friendly
3. 26 March 2005 Bežigrad Stadiummarker, Ljubljanamarker, Sloveniamarker 1-0 1-0 Friendly
4. 4 June 2005 Windsor Parkmarker, Belfastmarker, Northern Irelandmarker 4-1 4-1 Friendly
5. 15 June 2005 Commerzbank-Arenamarker, Frankfurtmarker, Germanymarker 4-2 4-3 FIFA Confederations Cup 2005
6. 25 June 2005 Frankenstadionmarker, Nurembergmarker, Germanymarker 1-1 2-3 FIFA Confederations Cup 2005
7. 29 June 2005 Zentralstadionmarker, Leipzigmarker, Germanymarker 1-0 4-3 FIFA Confederations Cup 2005
8. 7 September 2005 Olympiastadion Berlinmarker, Berlinmarker, Germanymarker 1-0 4-2 Friendly
9. 7 September 2005 Olympiastadion Berlin, Berlin, Germany 3-1 4-2 Friendly
10. 7 September 2005 Olympiastadion Berlin, Berlin, Germany 4-2 4-2 Friendly
11. 27 May 2006 Badenova Stadionmarker, Freiburgmarker, Germanymarker 3-0 7-0 Friendly
12. 27 May 2006 Badenova Stadion, Freiburg, Germany 5-0 7-0 Friendly
13. 20 June 2006 Olympiastadion Berlinmarker, Berlinmarker, Germanymarker 3-0 3-0 FIFA World Cup 2006
14. 24 June 2006 Allianz Arenamarker, Munichmarker, Germanymarker 1-0 2-0 FIFA World Cup 2006
15. 24 June 2006 Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany 2-0 2-0 FIFA World Cup 2006
16. 2 September 2006 Gottlieb Daimler Stadionmarker, Stuttgartmarker, Germanymarker 1-0 1-0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
17. 6 September 2006 Stadio Olimpico, Serravallemarker, San Marinomarker 1-0 13-0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
18. 6 September 2006 Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino 5-0 13-0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
19. 6 September 2006 Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino 8-0 13-0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
20. 6 September 2006 Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino 10-0 13-0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
21. 11 October 2006 Tehelné Pole Stadion, Bratislavamarker, Slovakiamarker 1-0 4-1 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
22. 11 October 2006 Tehelné Pole Stadion, Bratislava, Slovakia 4-1 4-1 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
23. 12 September 2007 Rhein-Energie Stadionmarker, Cologne, Germanymarker 3-1 3-1 Friendly
24. 17 November 2007 AWD Arenamarker, Hannovermarker, Germanymarker 3-0 4-0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
25. 26 March 2008 St. Jakob Parkmarker, Baselmarker, Switzerlandmarker 4-0 4-0 Friendly
26. 8 June 2008 Wörthersee Stadionmarker, Klagenfurtmarker, Austriamarker 1-0 2-0 UEFA Euro 2008
27. 8 June 2008 Wörthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt, Austria 2-0 2-0 UEFA Euro 2008
28. 12 June 2008 Wörthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt, Austria 1-2 1-2 UEFA Euro 2008
29. 6 September 2008 Rheinpark Stadionmarker, Vaduzmarker, Liechtensteinmarker 1-0 6-0 FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifying
30. 6 September 2008 Rheinpark Stadion, Vaduz, Liechtenstein 2-0 6-0 FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifying
31. 11 October 2008 Signal Iduna Parkmarker, Dortmundmarker, Germanymarker 1-0 2-1 FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifying
32. 28 March 2009 Zentralstadionmarker, Leipzigmarker, Germanymarker 4-0 4-0 FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifying
33. 29 May 2009 Shanghai Stadiummarker, Shanghai, Chinamarker 1-1 1-1 Friendly
34. 9 September 2009 AWD-Arenamarker, Hanovermarker, Germanymarker 4-0 4-0 FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifying
35. 14 October 2009 HSH Nordbank Arenamarker, Hamburgmarker, Germanymarker 1-1 1-1 FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifying
36. 18 November 2009 Veltins-Arenamarker, Gelsenkirchenmarker, Germanymarker 1-0 2-2 Friendly
37. 18 November 2009 Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany 2-2 2-2 Friendly



Awards and honors

FC Köln



Bayern Munich



Individual



References

External links




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