Prinz Poldi

September 15, 2008

Hero or money? That is the question being asked of Lukas “Prinz Poldi” Podolski in this sign, which roughly translated says “Man City or Real (Madrid), fuck off. Poldi to FC (Köln). Hero or Money?”.

Podolski, for those of you who don’t eagerly follow German soccer, is a striker for Bayern Munich and the German national team, where he has an impressive 30 goals in 57 appearances. His play has inspired multiple songs, from indie-rock lauding his “foot-created art” to a eurobeat anthem copping the melody of the Battle Hymn of the Republic to exhort “Poldi, Poldi Hallelujah“. A short film entitled “Poldi’s Angels“, about three 12 year-old Podolski fans, was the city of Cologne’s official cultural contribution to the 2006 World Cup. Even Paris Hilton wants a piece of Prinz Poldi. The tragedy of all this, however, is that he is currently spending most of his time at Bayern sitting on the bench.

Bayern is of course the biggest, richest team in Germany (well, maybe not the richest anymore) and a seemingly inevitable destination for the superstars of the Bundesliga. Podolski began his career as a youth with FC Köln. By the time he was 18 he was already setting records for the club and attracting the attention of the national team. In 2006, after three amazing seasons with Köln, Podolski was sold to Bayern for around €10 million. Shortly afterwards he scored 3 goals in the 2006 World Cup and was named Best Young Player.

Once he got to Munich, however, things started to cool off. He couldn’t find a place in Bayern’s starting eleven and the goals were few and far between. Even though he still was a regular starter and goal-scorerfor the national team, he was not fitting in in Bavaria. Things came to a head this year when Podolski admitted that joining Bayern was a mistake.

"Come Home, Poldi"

Immediately, transfer rumours began to fly and Podolski was linked with everyone from Real Madrid to the newly-wealthy Manchester City. The other club consistently in the mix was none other than Podolski’s first club, FC Koln. Recently promoted from the second division of German football, and with fans some would describe as “masochistic“, this club is not quite in the same league as some of Podolski’s other suitors.

And that is where the dilemma lies. Podolski is eager to get first team football, and he has the skill to succeed. At Bayern, Poldi is just one more option for a team that already has two other world-class strikers. At Köln, he was, and still is a hero. Last weekend Bayern travelled to Köln for a league match. Podolski did not start the match, which Bayern won by a comfortable 3-0 margin, but he did come on as a substitute and scored a 90th minute goal. Köln fans heartily applauded Podolski’s goal against their own team.

Podolski’s goal celebrations were muted and it was obvious he still has an affinity for Köln. Such devoted fans must be an obvious drawing point, but I can’t help but think Köln has already missed their opportunity (not to mention they probably couldn’t afford him anyway). I don’t doubt that he would have an immediate, successful impact there (although Köln’s current striker Milivoje Novakovič has not been a slouch this year) and for sentimental reasons I think it would be a great story.

Ultimately, though, I still think the best way forward for the Prinz will be to find a way into the Bayern starting XI. I still think he can be successful there, and with Bayern back in the Champions League this year he should get some more opportunities to shine. With a little more consistency maybe Prinz Poldi can be a hero and have the money.

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One Response to “ Prinz Poldi ”

  1. david beckham team on August 24, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    A very interesting post. I will come back to this site soon.

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