Sentiment on all sides in Podolski’s Cologne move

January 19, 2009

Lukas Podolski has broken an unwritten rule in Germany: Thou shalt not leave Bayern Munich in the prime of one’s career for a small, struggling Bundesliga club.

Bayern’s decision to let the 23-year-old Podolski go back to the club he came from three years ago, once the current season is over, is an astonishing move from the Bavarians, who could probably have earned a far more handsome return on the Germany striker from another club abroad or even a wealthier Bundesliga side.

In all the years I’ve been watching Bayern’s transfer moves, I’ve never seen anything like this. Has Bayern sporting director Uli Hoeness grown soft in the twilight of his career?

But who could forget the scene in Cologne in September when Podolski set up one goal and scored a second after coming on for the final half hour to lead Bayern to a 3-0 win — and more than 50,000 Cologne fans cheered Poldi’s 90th minute goal against their team. Cologne players and Bayern managers were incensed, according to German media reports. It was an amazing scene.

In Cologne, Germany’s fourth largest city and the country’s party capital, the “Frohnaturs” on the Rhine were celebrating his return more than a week ago, well before the deal was finally agreed. Last Saturday more than 700 people paid 10 euros admission for a “Poldi Comeback” party at a local castle.

Cologne has been passing the hat for the last year, trying to scrap together money for the transfer for the player who started his career with them at the age of 11 and made his Bundesliga debut at 18. Cologne native Michael Schumacher was even asked recently in a tribute to his 40th birthday if he planned to donate a million euros or two to the Bring-Poldi-Home campaign.

One of the 40 questions from celebrities to Schumacher in a newspaper article was from the Cologne mascot, Hennes the billy goat: “Are you going to give money so we can pay for Poldi?” the goat was quoted asking Schumacher, who replied: “I didn’t know Hennes could talk? I don’t believe it. But if he can deliver the question personally to me, we can talk about it.”

Cologne, down in 11th place after being promoted back to the top flight this year, are hardly a threat to Bayern.

Yet why are they letting “Prince Poldi” go for a relative pittance when they could have commanded a royal sum elsewhere?

PHOTO: A Cologne fan holds a placard reading ‘Bring back Prince Poldi’ before her team’s Bundesliga match against Hoffenheim in Cologne. Nov. 22, 2008. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay


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I did also remembered the match you are referring to, Erik. How Podolski reacted after he scored against his former club! Just burying his face on the pitch. One of the most enduring images for me in the current Bundesliga season so far.

But in regards to his return to his former club, on the practical side of things, it is seen like a career suicide for a footballer who does get a regular spot in the German national team (even if he is not playing regularly for Bayern Munich). But then of late with the whole madness surrounding Manchester City and their pursuit of Kaka, this is the kind of transfer news which does warm my heart. Someone moving to another club not for the sake of money, not for the sake of playing European football.

Like what Cologne chairman Wolfgang Overath said today and I paraphrase, Podolski followed his heart. I remembered the German national team coach Joachim Loew once said something like ‘follow your heart’ when he was speaking to the Cologne-based newspaper Express some days ago. Maybe I am a sentimental person myself, and so in a way I am happy the whole transfer saga has finally found a happy ending.

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I myself cant express my happiness.I wish Poldi could leave bayern as soon as possible.Bayern always wants to have good players in his possession,which is so jealous.Bayern is afraid of being vanquished by many other football clubs.
POLDI,try ur best,i always believe in u

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Posted by Sentiment on all sides in Podolski’s Cologne move | Sports 40 | Report as abusive

In the midst of the Kaka saga, this is the best news I have heard for soem time. Kudos to Podolski for returning back home and a brave move.

Posted by FC Barcelona Pictures | Report as abusive

This is the best news I have heard for some time from the transfer market… Kudos to Podolski

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Mayeb it’s a case of Bayern recuding their wage bill, while at the same time selling Podolski to a club that won’t be a major threat to them in the Bundesliga or in Eurpoe? Bayern have been guilty of hoovering up quality players simply to prevent opponents from getting their hands on them, and then not giving them a regular start – similar to Chelsea with Wright Phillips, Duff, Bridge, Sidwell etc. It could be a transfer where for once it’s good for all parties involved! Nice to see – hope it works out well for Podolski and Koln.

Posted by Sean | Report as abusive

what would it cost manchester united to attract podolski from cologne

Posted by soccermanre | Report as abusive

That’s an interesting question. I can’t imagine they’d have to break the bank and I’ve always been a fan of Podolski, despite his struggles at Bayern. Could be a vey good signing for someone.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive