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Lukas Podolski:

‘I’ve come on a very long way’

Lukas Podolksi has already begun packing ahead of his final outing at the Allianz Arena in a Bayern shirt. After a roller-coaster three years in Munich, the affable striker is returning to his hometown club Köln. “I’ve taken a huge step forward in my time at Bayern, and I’ve come on a very long way as a player and as a person,” the 23-year-old summarised in a farewell interview with

Interview: Lukas Podolski Lukas, how have you spent your last few days at Bayern?
Lukas Podolski: “It takes just under half an hour to get to the Säbener Strasse from my home in Pilsensee. Obviously, you do think a few things over when you realise it’s the second-to-last time. You are a little bit sad. I’ve spent three years in Munich, and I’ve grown close to the club and the city. I’ve come to like it in Munich, and it’s been a great place to live for me and my family.” So you’ll miss Munich?
Podolski: “Of course, especially the players. It wasn’t easy for me when I arrived here as a kid three years ago. I’d spent my whole life in Cologne before then, so this was a whole new world. But it was fantastic after I settled.” Why did you choose to live so far out of town?
Podolski: “I used to live well outside Cologne too, with my parents. I like driving, and I don’t mind spending half an hour in the car. We also had a fantastic lakeside house, and it was great for my son.” You’ve said you were a little nostalgic in the car this morning. Did you often make the morning commute with feelings of frustration?
Podolski: “I think I’ve had highs and lows in Munich, there’s no getting away from it. There were tough times when I wasn’t playing and suffered any number of setbacks. But I’ve often had three or four games in a row, I’ve won the league, and I’ve been to the cup final. Not every footballer can say that.” So coming to Bayern three years ago was the right decision?
Podolski: “Definitely. If you want success, you come to Bayern. This is the best club in Germany. You’re pushed in every training session, and you learn loads from the Franck Ribérys, Luca Tonis and Miroslav Kloses. I’ve taken a huge step forward in my time at Bayern, and I’ve come on a very long way as a player and as a person. Some people are saying Lukas Podolski failed at Bayern, but I don’t agree. I’ve gained experience and learned a lot too.” Would you say you’ve made mistakes as well?
Podolski: “There are always two sides to it when things don’t go so well for a player, so I’d never say it was all the fault of the coaching staff. Obviously, there are things I could have done differently, but I don’t want to rake over the past. The decision to go back to Cologne was taken in January, so I’ve had plenty of time to prepare for my departure.” It’s gone really well for you recently. You’ve started the last four games, scored twice and provided five assists.
Podolski: “Players need 90-minute run-outs against competitive opponents. It’s hard to make an impression when you’re only on for 10 or 15 minutes at the end. I’m delighted I’ve had a last chance to show what I can do.”