Lukas Podolski is a Bundesliga legend who played for Cologne and Bayern Munich in Germany’s pinnacle flight in addition to making country wide soccer records for his performances with the Mannschaft and being a part of the 2014 FIFA international Cup victory — bundesliga.Com pays tribute to the Cologne boy who did very superb
“i’ve regularly been asked the query: What turned into your nice second in football? Truely, I don’t have one,” Podolski said. “From 2003 to now, i am absolutely glad with my entire career. Severa towns, wins, defeats, dreams, assists – all this is a part of me and defines me.”
He surely played in some of towns and nations: Munich with Bayern, London with Arsenal, Milan with Inter and Istanbul with Galatasaray. However if there is one metropolis that honestly defines Podolski, it is Cologne.
Podolski was not born there. He was born in Gliwice, Poland, on June 4, 1985, but he was just two years old when his parents, former soccer player Waldemar and former international handball player Krysztyna, and his sister headed across the border to what was then… West Germany, traveling to Domstadt to rejoin their children’s paternal grandparents.
“We had nothing,” said Waldemar, who stirred in the dying throes of the Cold War. “That’s when Lukas started playing football. Every day he was out on the field with the ball.”
From those first tentative dribbles in Bergheim, a suburb of Cologne, to owning a string of kebab shops, an ice cream parlor, a sportswear brand with a shop in the center and generally considered a living. urban legend.
The feeling is mutual. “It’s hard to put into words,” Podolski said, trying to find a way to express his relationship with the city that created him. “There are times when I’m completely in love with it. When I land at the airport or walk down certain streets, when I see the stadium for example, I get butterflies in my stomach. Then I realize I’m home.”
He wasn’t always so comfortable. Coming from an immigrant family, Podolski wasn’t even Lukas at first – instead he spelled his first name with the Polish spelling Łukasz. But his football skills, which stood out early on, earned him fame in social circles as well as the nickname by which he is widely known in Germany.
He was just six when he joined Jugend 07 Bergheim, a local club, and within four years he was pulling on the shirt of his first football love: 1. FC Köln. With an influx of players called Lukas in the squad, Podolski was christened ‘Poldi’. And yes, it stuck.
“I just went for it and accepted the challenge,” Podolski explained of how he rose to prominence in a highly competitive environment. “I was a kid from Poland, a kid of immigrants who didn’t get pushed around in training. I said to myself: ‘So now you’re here, train!’ Of course, you also need a little luck and a coach who believes in you. That was my case too. And everyone knows what came next.”
Marcel Koller is the man Podolski thinks of, the one who saw the potential and took the risk. At the start of the 2003/04 season, 18-year-old Podolski was still part of the club’s youth set-up – scoring eight times in his opening eight games for the U19s – to catch Koller’s eye.
“I became the train of Cologne in November 2003 and soon after that I saw Lukas Podolski for the primary time on the soccer field. You observed matters straight away: that he had a totally strong left leg, an ideal middle of gravity, that he become very dynamic and sturdy.” ,” explained Koller, who determined to take his younger charge to a first-group training consultation and the relaxation is, well, German soccer records.
Of direction, Koller’s gamble paid off handsomely. On 11 November 2003, Podolski signed his first expert settlement and became a Bundesliga participant for the subsequent eleven days, making his debut towards Hamburg. 3 days later, he scored the first of his 55 German goals inside the top flight for the club in a 1–1 draw with Hansa Rostock. He ended the season with 10 desires in 19 Bundesliga video games, something the 18-year-old had by no means finished earlier than. How a hit turned into it? It took Florian Wirtz – every other manufactured from Cologne’s adolescents academy – to take the report from him. That became in September 2021.
“It wasn’t like now. In my time, there were a ways fewer players who could play inside the pinnacle flight so younger,” explained Podolski. “I recognize what I owe to Marcel Koller. Without him, I might be gambling for Bergheim today and that i wouldn’t be able to have the sort of career.”
The Cologne teenage prodigy become unstoppable. The club’s problem changed into that the relaxation of the team was definitely very stoppable. They were relegated that season and immediately bounced again up thanks to Podolski’s 24 league desires in 30 2.Bundesliga games, handiest to get better as some other 12 top-flight strikes from the young forward were not sufficient. As his loved membership yo-yoed between divisions, Podolski had to move to make certain his career took an upward trajectory.