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Podolski opens account

Hoeneß: That’s what strikers are paid for

In numerical terms, Lukas Podolski went almost 750 Bundesliga minutes without a goal before Saturday’s trip to Nuremberg. In the world of the striker, 750 goalless minutes is not such a dramatic occurrence. However, a 384-day drought is the stuff of raised eyebrows.

Back on 11 March 2007, Podolski opened the scoring for Bayern in a 1-1 home draw with Werder Bremen, but more than a calendar year was to pass before he once again tasted the joy of a domestic league strike. “I’m always delighted when I score,” the 22-year-old declared in characteristically neutral tones following the weekend draw with 1. FC Nürnberg.

Podolski as super sub

Saturday’s goal was also Podolski’s first in the Bundesliga after coming on as a sub. As so often this term, the former Cologne man again started on the bench in Franconia. Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld initially sent out Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose, before replacing the luckless German with fellow-countryman Podolski at half-time.

Lukas insists he does not hold it against Hitzfeld personally, “but to be honest, I’m fed up with the Bayern subs’ bench,” the player told the Bild tabloid after netting for Germany in Switzerland last Wednesday – where he also came on as a sub. “But I’m not made to be a sub, my goal is to be a regular,” he said on Saturday.

Hitzfeld: Goal will help him

“I think it’s terrific Lukas scored today, but that’s what strikers are paid for. Everyone has to contribute to our success, and he made a fine contribution today,” offered general manager Uli Hoeneß, professing incomprehension at the media debate over the player: “I don’t understand the drama associated with him. Lukas became an important part of the team ages ago.“

“He’s on a par with the other strikers,” agreed Hitzfeld, who recently acknowledged that the fight for places in the team was a straight performance-based contest. “The goal will give him a real boost. He went out there and exploded today,“ the General observed.

Start against Getafe?

Poldi may well have done enough to earn a start in Thursday’s UEFA Cup meeting with Getafe. The Germany hitman has already notched up five goals in the competition so far. “I’ll train as well as I can, and then we’ll see who the coach picks,“ Podolski declared, neutral as ever.

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