Podolski, keen to rediscover edge

Podolski, keen to rediscover edge

Lukas Podolski

It was supposed to be so different. Podolski returned to his adoring Cologne fans last summer from a hapless three-year spell at Bayern in the hope of becoming the team's leader. But the contribution of the 24-year-old, lost in Cologne's midfield wilderness, hardly went beyond a minor supporting role.

His three seasons at Bayern had left the 24-year-old frustrated and he was often left to brood on the substitutes' bench.This frustration spilled over to the national team when he slapped captain Michael Ballack during a World Cup qualifier last year against Wales following a verbal spat. However, the lightning-quick Podolski, who possesses one of the most lethal left feet in the sport, has not stopped scoring for Germany and coach Joachim Loew continues to stick with him. His prolific scoring rate of 37 goals in 70 appearances should serve as a warning for Germany's opponents.

Since winning his first cap in 2004, Podolski has become an irreplaceable feature in the team. He was voted best young player at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and played a goal-scoring part in their run to the final at Euro 2008, where they lost to Spain.

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