Lukas Podolski

Date of Birth: - 4th June 1985

Nationality: - Podolski was born in Poland, but is of German nationality based on his grandparents and moving their at the age of 6, hence why he plays for Germany.

Height: - 5ft 11inches

Position: - Striker, but can also play on the left wing.

Club History: - FC Koln

- Bayern Munich

- FC Koln.

Linked With: - Galatasaray

- Anzhi

- Lazio

- Lokomotiv Moscow

- Schalke

- Zenit

- Arsenal (Podolski has signed a pre-contract with them, and will move in the summer unless an injury occurs as an issue with insurance fee's seems to have passed, so this move is 99% certain to take place. The move will also NOT happen before the Euro's or during them, so will most likely be from around July 1st onwards.)

Estimated Market Value: - Technically this is 'Estimated Fee Agreed'.

Club career

FC Koln:

Podolski began his football career at the very young age of six in the youth team of FC Bergheim, where he played for around 4 years until he joined FC Koln in 1995, at the age of 10.

After he'd joined FC Koln, his talents were quickly recognised as he was showing even in the youth setup his passion and eye for goal. In 2003, at the age of 18, Podolski was still part of the club's youth setup and the pressure of Koln to start playing him at first-team level was ever growing.

Unfortunately at this time though, FC Koln found itself in the awful position of battling to avoid relegation from the Bundesliga. However, working on a very small budget to bring in players etc, Koln finally invited Podolski to train with the senior players.

22 November 2003 - Podolski made his Bundesliga debut shortly after the invitation to train with the senior squad, after he was once again showing his talents in training exercices etc.

However, Koln still failed to avoid the drop to the 2nd division, but it was not all doom and gloom at the club as it was clear of the talent FC Koln had amongst their ranks in Podolski, as he had shown what he could do even in such a poor season, as he scored 10 goals in his first 19 senior appearances. This was the best tally by an 18-year-old in the history of the Bundesliga.

In actual fact, Podolski had shown enough talent to be called up to the German (senior) Euro 2004 squad, but would of course bring along a lot of interest from several top clubs across Europe.

Regardless of the interest and his impressive international break, Podolski stayed at FC Koln to help the club gain promotion in the 2004/2005 season, ending all speculation that he'd leave FC Koln to attain Bundesliga football.

With 24 goals in this season, Podolski advanced to become the league's top scorer, and won the golden boot award. Despite Podolski playing in the second division in Germany, Podolski remained a consistent part of the Germany squad, and what makes this even more impressive is that he was only 19 at the time also.

After Koln were promoted, the pressure was certainly on Podolski to keep the club in the Bundesliga practically singlehandedly, as he was the fans favourite, and expectations were extremely high for him to play well for not just Koln, but for German fans as a whole.

Podolski, in the end, managed to score 12 goals in the 2005/2006 season, but once again despite this effort, Koln were relegated again to the second division. It became clear that Podolski would not stay again to push them through the 2006/2007 season, mostly due to the fact that Podolski was becoming an integral part of the national team, and in most peoples eyes, needed to play top level football week in, week out.

Bayern Munich:

1st June 2006 - Podolski announced that a transfer agreement had been reached with Bayern Munich, allowing him to join the German side for the 2006/2007 season. The official transfer fee was never confirmed, but the estimated value was speculated to be around 10 million Euro's.

11 August 2006 - Podolski made his Bundesliga debut for Bayern Munich with a 2-0 victory against Borussia Dortmund, coming on as a substitute in the 88th minute.

9th September 2006 - Podolski scored his first goal for Bayern, coming on as a second half substitute in a cup game versus FC St. Pauli. Only 26 seconds after the second half started, he scored the equaliser, leveling the match 1-1.

14th October 2006 - Podolski scored his first league goal for Bayern, which helped to secure the club's 4-2 win over Hertha Berlin.

26th October 2006 - Podolski suffered a serious injury to his right ankle joint caused by teammate, Mark van Bommel, during a training session. This therefore meant that Podolski missed more than five match weeks.

Podolski returned from this injury and scored against Alemannia Aachen 6 weeks later.

Unfortunately, in the second half of the season Podolski was dropped to the bench due to the purchase of another striker, and the great form Bayern were showing.

This would also continue through the 2007/2008 season, and it became clear Podolski was unhappy with the lack of playing time, and fears over his international career were beginning to come through.

Return to FC Koln:

20th January 2009 - After Podolski was assured by national team coach Joachim Low that a return to FC Koln would not harm his chances of international football; an agreement to sign him was agreed between Bayern Munich and Koln, although he would not return to Koln until the start of the summer transfer window.

1st July 2009 - Podolski returned to Koln on a four-year contract, and the transfer is speculated to be around 10 million Euro's, equivalent to the fee Bayern paid to sign him in 2006. Koln created a website where people were able to buy pixels of an image of Lukas Podolski for 25 Euro's, in order to gather 1 million Euro's to reduce the cost of the transfer, which is truly unique and unorthodox in the modern game, but also innovative at the same time.

Having just moved from Bayern Munich, Podolski had a poor first season at Koln, scoring just three times the entire season, due to lack of confidence, injuries and general poor form. Many people had begun assuming that his potential was now gone and all was left was a shell of a previously top player.

March 2011 - In the 2010/2011 season, Podolski scored his 50th Bundesliga goal in the match against Hannover 96, and was starting to reclaim his previously prolific form. During the entire season, Podolski scored thirteen goals and had seven assists.

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 Pawe? Janas should check Podolski out, as he was still eligible to play for Poland. Janas ignored the request and actually said that Podolski wasn't good enough, and there were much better strikers around. Before this was said, Podolski was still interested in representing Poland, but as the season progressed German media increasingly highlighted his performances to suggest he should be called up to the German national team. At the end of the season though, Podolski chose to represent Germany over Poland.

After this decision, (at the end of the season) Koln were relegated to the second German division, but Podolski impressed so much, that he held his debut for Germany.

6th June 2004 - Podolski made his debut at aged 19, in Germany (home) 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 Republic, where he came on for around half-an-hour.

World Cup 2006

Podolski was selected in the Germany squad for the 2006 World Cup, where he partnered Miroslav Klose as the attack duo in the starting lineup.

Podolski 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. 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 player ever to accomplish the feat. Germany finished third in the tournament, and while his teammate Miroslav Klose won the Golden Boot competition, Podolski's three goals tied him for second place with Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Fernando Torres, David Villa, Maxi Rodriguez, Hernan Crespo and Zinedine Zidane. Podolski was named the World Cup's Best Young Player ahead of players like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Euro 2008

In a Euro 2008 qualifying game against San Marino in Serravalle 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.

11 October 2006 - In Germany's 4-1 win against Slovakia in Bratislava, he scored the first and the last German goal. He was truly beginning to show Germany, and the world, what he could do.

17th 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 and had 3 assists and was voted Man of the Match.

8th June 2008 - Podolski made his Euro 2008 entrance against debutants Poland in a Group B match in Klagenfurt, Austria. He scored both goals in a 2-0 victory. He avoided celebrating his goals, however, to show respect for his country of birth.

12th June 2008 - 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. This goal also put 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.

19th June 2008 - Germany played Portugal in the quarterfinal. Podolski was instrumental in the first goal, whipping a cross into the penalty box that was 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. 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. 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.

2010 FIFA World Cup

6th September 2008 - Podolski scored the opening two goals in Germany's first 2010 World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein in Vaduz; a match that ended in a 6-0 victory for the Germans.

11th October 2008 - Podolski scored the opener in the 2-1 home win over Russia. He finished the qualification campaign second highest scorer of Group 4 with 6 goals, behind teammate Miroslav Klose's 7.

13th June 2010 - Podolski, who had become accustomed to his position as a winger scored the first goal in Germany's World Cup opening game in a 4-0 win against Australia, before assisting teammate Thomas Muller for the third goal.

18th June 2010 - Podolski missed a second-half penalty after a Vidic handled in the area, during the 1-0 loss to Serbia.

However, Podolski managed to score against England in the last 16, giving Germany a 2-0 advantage in the first half, in which they went on to beat England 4-1. I'd also like to add this is the game that England were cheated out of a goal, due to Frank Lampards strike that clearly went over the line. (Had to be said).

In the quarter final against Argentina, Podolski assisted Klose to a goal, bringing the score to 2-0. The Germans won the match 4-0.

Euro 2012

During qualification, Podolski provided assists for three goals and scored three times, helping Germany to win all 10 matches of their qualification campaign.

Club Statistics:

FC Koln (spell one): - 87 appearances, 51 goals.

Bayern Munich: - 108 appearances, 27 goals.

FC Koln (second spell) (as of 18/04/2012) - 93 appearances, 34 goals.

Total: - 288 appearances, 111 goals.

General comments:

Lukas Podolski is a top striker in my opinion. His profile is very impressive, and at such a young age to do the things he did was truly superb. To be a regular for your national side at such a young age and to retain such a position year in, year out, even when your club side is relegated, is special. I can't think of many players who have achieved such a feat, and it takes a special player to do so. Podolski is a natural finisher, as well as an assist-machine. He just seems to get himself in positions to pounce, whether it be slotting the ball home or making a 40 yard run into the box and setting up a team-mate. Unfortunately I couldn't find his assist count, but I will try to over the coming days. The only issue I have with Podolski as a player, is he seems to be a tad one-footed. Not completely one footed, but primarily. He's a very left footed player but actually does this well, as he seems to adjust his body in certain positions to cope with this, and I've seen him score some goals from the right side of the pitch with the outside of his left foot and they've been screamers, so luckily he makes it work, and it makes his style unique. With this in mind, Podolski is also very good with set pieces - Corners and Free Kicks. This represents him fully, as he can either be provider, or scorer, which is important for a player joining the Premier League. As I said earlier in the profile, it's 99% certain that he will join Arsenal from July 1st onwards, and I think it'll be great to see him in the Premier League. In my honest opinion, I believe he's made the right move choosing Arsenal, and the thought of RVP and Podolski forming a partnership is truly, truly mouthwatering.

Thanks all,