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Podolski shines in left midfield berth

Germany boss Joachim Löw awarded his men two days off following their 2-1 victory over Serbia in a final pre-Euro 2008 warm-up. The Germans take up residence at their pre-tournament base in Ascona on Lake Maggiore this Tuesday, during which time the coach will be weighing up his selection options. He will certainly be considering how best to deploy Lukas Podolski.

A recognised striker, the Bayern man has emerged recently as an alternative on the left side of midfield. “One variation has Lukas playing on the left,“ Löw mused after the Serbia clash, where Podolski played the second half as a midfielder. The man who partnered Miroslav Klose in Germany’s 2006 World Cup attack has now appeared in midfield in four of his last six international outings.

Praised by coach

Podolski’s energy, dynamism and willingness to shoot from all angles earned plaudits on Saturday. “I was pleased with him,“ Löw commented afterwards. “He applied a lot of pressure, and our best moves originated down the left. Lukas Podolski is making a very good impression.“

The 22-year-old declared himself satisfied with his 45-minute run-out. “Whenever I come on, I always give it my best shot. It worked out pretty well to a certain extent,“ he commented. Podolski mined an increasingly rich vein of form over the last few weeks of the Bundesliga campaign, with five goals and two assists in the last nine games of Bayern’s double-winning season.

Late decision

Podolski’s timing appears to be perfect. “I’m not wasting any thought as to who gets picked for the Euro,“ the left-footed ace continued, although he appears certain to feature somewhere in Löw’s plans. “We haven’t heard the last word on the subject,“ the coach declared, indicating he would wait until much closer to the Germans’ Euro opener against Poland on 8 June before deciding how best to deploy Podolski’s talents: “What happens in training will play a major role.“