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Poldi fired up

Hitzfeld: Battle for places is wide open

Lukas Podolski was in confident mood at a pre-DFB Cup news conference this week. “Of course I'd take one if it came to penalties,” he fired back immediately in response to a reporter's question. Should Wednesday's semi-final against VfL Wolfsburg still be deadlocked after 120 minutes, Poldi would be quite happy to step up to the spot.

The statement certainly speaks volumes for the Germany international's innate self-belief, despite his current third spot in the strike hierarchy at the club behind Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose. However, coach Ottmar Hitzfeld's rotation policy has handed Poldi a run of regular appearances.

Poldi keen to build on good form

“He's done very well in recent matches,” said Ottmar Hitzfeld on Tuesday. “I've been playing regularly of late, and that gives me something to build on,” Podolski responded. The striker has five UEFA Cup goals to his name so far, although he has yet to get off the mark in the Bundesliga and DFB German Cup.

In terms of the domestic knockout competition, Wednesday offers Podolski the opportunity to open his account this term. Top scorer Luca Toni is suspended after his sending-off in the quarter-finals against 1860 Munich, so Polid is certain to start against the Wolves. “I'm delighted he'll get another chance to play from the start and prove he's worthy of his place at Bayern Munich,” Hitzfeld remarked.

Hitzfeld welcomes competition

The Bayern coach is expecting a good display from his number 11. “I have a solid feeling about Lukas. He was in great shape in training yesterday and scored a lot of goals in our tactics exercise. He's on good form,” reported Hitzfeld, who is also hoping for a decent showing from Podolski's strike partner Miroslav Klose: “I hope the goals start coming again for Miro."

“We can still win three trophies, and I'll give everything I have to the cause,“ declared Podolski, determined to put forward a case for first-choice status with a fine performance against Felix Magath's VfL Wolfsburg. "The battle for places in attack is wide open," Hitzfeld insisted, “at the end of the day, performance is the decisive factor.“ Poldi will have heard and understood.