Podolski is integral in FC Koln's Bundesliga involvement

News of Arsenal’s interest in the German striker came as no surprise to me yesterday – a constant threat and consistently excellent performer with the  North Rhine club, the twenty-six year old surely has all the ingredients to showcase his talents at a top club. I can only imagine that he and van Persie together would make a lethal combination in the Premiership and Europe – the Dutchman’s magical feet & artistry, the Polish born stars’ striking ability and predatory instincts – he could possibly be the final piece in the jigsaw with which Wenger needs to impose a title challenge.

He has been at this juncture before in 2006 – following the relegation of Koln from the Bundesliga, even with Podolski’s dozen goals – he felt he could no longer be the talisman at the club. With many clubs circling, he choose to stay in Germany and a move to Bayern Munich was finalised before the 2006-07 season began. After a slow start, Lukas managed a few goals before a training ground incident with Mark van Bommell ruled him out for a period and disrupted his first season in Munich. The majority of his tumultuous spell in Bavaria was spent warning the bench, misfiring and generally not settling in.

A return to the RheinEnergiestadion was inevitable and following Luca Toni’s arrival at Bayern in 2009, Podolski’s striking berth looked untenable. Lukas started with the FC Köln youth team and being his childhood hometown, the special bond has never left. The club put their full funding behind the return of the player and even partly funded the transfer with an online sale of Podolski Pictures on their club website – this raised around €1m for the kitty. When Podolski returned, so had the club to Germany’s top flight – his first full season back seemed to back up the saying that you should never return to a former club with only three goals to his name during 2009.

Since then he has felt more at home and managed an impressive twenty-three goals in almost seventy appearances – for a team usually skirting just above the relegation zone that’s a stunning ratio. The prodigal son has returned and with the striker and family settled & the club fawning over their indispensable asset surely there is no question to be answered over a move? His starring role with Köln has been integral to their Bundesliga survival over the past two seasons and without Podolski they would surely not find such an all rounded or committed player. He is still also one of the first inclusions in the National squad and so staying in Köln would not affect his Euro 2012 or World Cup aspirations – therefore the only question is about personal ambition?

There is no doubt that Lukas Podolski would be anything other than a revelation in England – a bustling hardworking forward is the epiphany of the English front man. His country & his club are everything to Mr Köln, but there must be a niggling desire to prove he can fully adjust to another country & lifestyle and be commended & recognised with a top side. After reading the tragic story of former German number one Robert Enke, it seems that a continual need for reassurance and praise at a higher level of football can be detrimental to your health and abilities to operate on the pitch.

The former Hannover stopper had two such abrupt and disastrous spells at Barcelona and Fenerbache – the latter lasting only one game after a debut which ended in a storm of lighters and coins surrounding his goal mouth following a hefty defeat. Men who show total commitment to their clubs are a dying breed, the adulation shown for such players as Francesco Totti at AS Roma & Joseba Exteberria with Atlethic de Bilbao is fanatical and such players are revered forever in their clubs history books. A local bar just off the main square in Köln would though save some money from the players departure, their “Podolski Special” means all your kölsch that day is for FREE, whenever Lukas scores the last goal of a Bundesliga game – The Corkonian in the cities’ Alter Markt would rather take that hit then have their Number Ten exit in January. But can the club afford to rebuff a potential – which I would estimate at upwards of £12m – in their coffers?

  1. Phanonymous_1987 says:

    Had seen a clip of this over on CelticFC1888.com and looked an interesting post. You did your research well and thanks for the insight. The name Podolski has a European pedigree attached to it. Largely based on his International performances.

    Not all have went to the efforts or have the luxury to watch Bundesliga football. None the less the points presented here will leave Arsenal fans hopeful of a signing.

    • I think Arsenal would have a very exciting dynamic with Podolski spearheading their attack. He has a great scoring record in major tournaments with the German side, meaning the pressure of Champions League football wouldn’t be problematic.

      I am hopeful of going to Köln after the winter period to catch a match and am immensely looking forward to their matchday experiences.

  2. Jan says:

    Hey there. As a Köln supporter I don’t really like the idea of Lukas scoring for the Gunners. With former Wolfsburg player Sascha Riether, Novakovic, Geromel and Micheal Rensing the officials of the club have built a strong team around him, maybe the best in twenty years. And that’s back to Illgner, Hässler and Littbarski.

    On the other hand I think it would be a great oppottunity for Lukas and a chance for the club to reduce their debt by large.

    • Hey Jan, thanks for your comment. It is a quandary, as like us, people would like to see how Podolski would develop at another club but ultimately want him to stay at Köln.

      There is some great players alongside him as you say, can they push on to the next level in the Bundesliga? Or will it be harder as a few of the teams are a lot stronger this year? My eye will always be on FC Köln and I wish them the best for the rest of the season.


  3. Lizzy from Köln says:

    Hello there, I am from Cologne and a fan of our football club – of course. I agree with Jan. I don’t think, the 1.FC Köln-Fans will feel offended if Lukas one day decides to leave Köln for Arsenal. It could be a great chance for him to prove what an excellent footballer he is. But personally it would break my heart to see him leaving. I am sure Lukas knows he is dearly loved in his hometown – and this is no doubt extremely important for him. It sure is a difficult decision for him. But just as Jan said, I am confident that 1.FC Köln will improve and stabilize a lot in the seasons to come. So it depends on how patient Lukas is…

    • Lizzy, thanks a lot for your comment. That would be great to have Köln progressing as a team & club even without Lukas, they have amazing form at home and that is something to build around.

      Is their style, perhaps their downfall away from the RheinEnergieStadion? Are they Too cavalier? It will be interesting to see if any other clubs as well as Arsenal choose to develop interest in him, as you would think he would be a great addition to most clubs in Europe.
      Thanks, Mark

  4. Lizzy from Köln says:

    Oh, and Mark: Thank you so much for your wishes for Köln!

    • Lizzy from Köln says:

      Hello Mark,
      there were different seasons, when Köln played very well out of town, put very poor at RheinEnergie Stadion. It was explained by “the pressure of the fans at home”. This season the players say, the fans’ massive support at home gives them strength and the will to fight. So, who knows! If we could only find the reason for the – current – poor efficiency when we play out of town. The weird thing about is: If one of the players gives in – the others follow immediately. It’s not always like that, but it happens now and then. Too often it depends on Lukas’ mood; he is able to electrify the whole team – or not. Let’s hope today (Match in Bremen will start in about an hour) is the beginning of a wonderful change concerning “our” performances away from Köln! Have a nice weekend!
      PS: German tabloids say Milan is willing to offer even more for Lukas than Arsenal. But then again we hear and read these rumours every six months and Lukas is still with us.

      • Yesterday’s game almost proved the turning point and they must have played with tremendous spirit to only lose the third goal so near to the whistle.

        Hopefully against lesser opposition they can play to these strengths away from home and gather some points on the road. I will keep my tabs on who is after your star man.


  5. Lizzy from Köln says:

    It was a fantastic game of Köln on Saturday, however we could not win against this referee… (no, I’m not one of those who always hold the referee responsible when our team loses the game, but this time it was just too obvious.). Nevertheless the Köln-fans are happy with the team’s performance in Bremen.
    On the team’s homepage our manager said, that there has not been any offer for Lukas by Arsenal by now and that the club is definitely going to make any effort to keep Lukas – of course. So we still have to wait and see.
    Regards from Cologne, Lizzy

    • Morning from Scotland Lizzy, I am glad that the fans appreciated the monumental effort the players put into the game – hopefully they can carry this into the next round of fixtures!

      Here in Glasgow with Celtic, the problem with referees is an ongoing one and a lot of fans are openly critical of every decision given against us. The fact of the matter is, we should be able as a team to beat all of the league teams without blaming officials.

      That is got about Lukas, let’s hope we can keep him in Cologne till the end of the season at least.


  6. Lizzy from Köln says:

    Hello Mark,
    I am positive about Lukas (or Poldi, as we call him) staying in Cologne til the end of the season! He would never ever leave his club during a season. His advisor (I hope it’s the correct English word) today said the renewal of Poldi’s contract with Köln is not a matter of money. He said, if money was important to Lukas then he would already play for a different club. The questions that matter to Lukas are: Is the club going upwards, what are the club’s plans and ambitions for the next couple of years to come, especially concerning new transfers (we do need another striker since Novakovic is still injured and drops out) et cetera. According to the club they will start negotiations with Poldi in winter. So I think we will learn more at the beginning of next year.

    • Hello Lizzy,
      Sorry for late reply. Yes that wouldn’t be great for the the club and it’s plan is for the season and not just half the year – I read on another blog Poldi wishes to play for Koln in the Champions League? Could this realistically happen with all the good sides in the Bundesliga at present? I will keep a close eye on the negotiations and hopefully the contract can be concluded for Lukas to stay. Hope Koln is treating you well.


  7. I’ve been following the blog for some time and had encouraged me not even comment. Without doubt, the article says is absolutely true, although some people may think differently.

  8. Lizzy from Köln says:

    Hello Mark, some news about 1. FC Köln , but I would rather like to e-mail you. Is this possible?


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