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‘We need him here’

Rummenigge: No loan switch for Podolski

Lukas Podolski has made 16 competitive appearances for Bayern so far this term, but only three over the full 90 minutes. Neither can the striker be satisfied with his tally of just two goals, both in the UEFA Cup. “I need to have a good, hard think about what I should do next – and where,” he himself was recently quoted as saying, but any thoughts of a switch away from Munich, potentially before the current transfer window closes just over a week, have now been put on ice.

“I had a very good talk with Lukas today on this very subject and informed him that we can’t let him leave Bayern, because we need him for the future,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the sid sports news agency on Tuesday. “We’re convinced by Lukas Podolski’s quality, and we’ll enjoy a great deal of success together.“

Sympathy for the player

The chairman has thus thrown his full weight behind the coaching staff. Boss Ottmar Hitzfeld has always insisted the club could not afford to release any player in mid-season, especially not a forward: “We only have four strikers, and things can change incredibly quickly.“ Added assistant coach Michael Henke: “We need Lukas. He’s a very important player here.“

However, officials have expressed understanding for Podolski’s predicament. “I’d love to let him go and play regular football,” Uli Hoeneß admitted ahead of Tuesday evening’s warm-up fixture in Düsseldorf, aware of Podolski’s yearning to press his international claims ahead of Euro 2008 by performing consistently at club level. “But if one of the others gets injured, we’d be in deep trouble.“

Backing from Löw

Germany boss Joachim Löw is standing by Podolski. “Our view at the German FA always was that Lukas should and would stay. He should push for the breakthrough, and I know that’s his goal,” the national coach was quoted as saying by the Munich Abendzeitung. Löw said the Bayern striker had recently assured him “he’d do everything he could to hit peak form. Lukas knows he’ll be part of the set up here, provided he continues to show the right attitude and gets some playing time.“