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‘He’ll battle through’

Poldolski ready to fight for his place

Lukas Podolski stretched to turn Luca Toni’s diagonal pass into the net, before slumping motionless and full-length on the Cologne turf. The striker hid his face in the grass, almost as if he had missed the target, but “Poldi“ had actually scored his second goal of the season to round off the scoring in Bayern’s 3-0 victory over FC Köln.

The player later explained he had decided not to celebrate out of respect for the home club, where he played from the Under-11s until joining Bayern after the 2006 World Cup. In stark contrast to the scorer, the Köln crowd cheered Podolski’s goal as if he was still wearing their colours. “You won’t see that anywhere else in the world. I was moved,“ the Bayern striker declared after a lap of honour in front of the still-adoring home fans.

Podolski has a well-documented and deep relationship with Cologne. The teams’ friendly meeting seven weeks ago was overshadowed by the local hero’s first homecoming, and the media interest in the goal-getter was intense in the build-up to the Bundesliga clash, although the angle was more about the pecking order in the Munich attack. “Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose are first-choice,“ Jürgen Klinsmann declared, “and Lukas is the challenger.“