Thursday, August 19, 2010
Lukas Podolski (German pronunciation: [ˈluːkas poˈdɔlski]); born Łukasz Podolski IPA: [wu'kaʂ poˈdɔlski]) on 4 June 1985 in Gliwice, Poland) is a German footballer who plays as a striker for Köln and for the German national team. He joined 1. FC Köln in 1995 where he broke into the first team in 2003 and made 81 appearances for the club before moving to Bayern Munich. After three years in Munich with mixed success, Podolski returned to Köln. He was first capped in 2004 and has been part of the squad in all major tournaments since then. Although he was eligible to play for Germany and Poland, Podolski chose (like most Silesians) to play for Germany.
Podolski was born to Waldemar Podolski, who played professional football in Poland and won the Polish championship in 1980 with Szombierki Bytom, and to Krystyna Podolska, a former member of the Polish national handball team in the Silesian industrial town of Gliwice (near Katowice), Poland. In 1987, when Łukasz Podolski was two years old, his family emigrated from Poland to West Germany and was given Aussiedler status as a result of his paternal grandparents having German citizenship prior to WWII (Gliwice had until 1945 been a part of Germany as Gleiwitz). Podolski grew up in Bergheim, North Rhine-Westphalia, and later in Pulheim, both near Cologne.
Podolski holds both German and Polish nationality, but has stated that he does not have a Polish passport. In an interview Podolski said that the Polish football association never cared about him until started playing for the U21 national team and received coverage in the media. At that point, Podolski says his heart was "already beating for Germany.