Lukas Josef Podolski is the German footballer who plays in the German Bundesliga for FC Köln. Podolski started his career with Köln but moved to Bayern Munich, which were undoubtedly the best years of his career. He is also regarded as one of the first team regulars for the German national team and has played in various major international tournaments over the years. Podolski is a player of Polish and German descent. However, he chose to play for Germany in 2004 when he made his debut for the senior team.
He started his career at FC Köln in 1995 when he joined the team as a youth player from FC Jugend 07 Bergheim. He had previously spent four years at FC Jugend 07 Bergheim. Upon joining FC Köln, Podolski progressed through the various youth ranks to ultimately make his debut for the team in 2002. Despite being part of the youth team, Podolski made his debut for FC Köln aged just 17. He became one of the members of the senior team after turning 18. In his first season at FC Köln, he saw the club promoted to the Bundesliga.
The club were extremely close to relegation in the 2003-04 season, but Podolski saved the day with 10 goals in 19 appearances for the club. This was a record for a 18-year-old in the Bundesliga. Such impressive performances soon saw Podolski become a first team regular for FC Köln. He consistently made more than 30 appearances in the subsequent seasons, but his best ever tally with FC Köln has to be in the 2004-05 season when he scored an astonishing 29 goals from 32 appearances in all competitions.
This earned him the move to Bayern Munich – one of the biggest clubs in the world. Podolski had rejected the advances of numerous clubs including the likes of Real Madrid and Hamburg before signing for Bayern Munich. Even though the transfer fee was not disclosed, it was rumoured to be around € 10 million. His debut for Bayern Munich came in the match against Borussia Dortmund. His first goal for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga came against Hertha Berlin. Even though his first season at Bayern Munich was not as impressive as his previous season with FC Köln, it was acceptable by many and a lot of people saw him as the successor to Miroslav Klose.
In his first season with Bayern Munich, Podolski made 12 goals in 33 appearances. However, things did not improve in the subsequent seasons. Podolski continued scoring around the same level until rumours started surfacing that he was unhappy at Bayern Munich. Finally, in 2009 it was agreed between Bayern Munich and his former club FC Köln that they would take him back for around € 10 million. He is a consistent fixture for the German national team having made 93 appearances since making his debut in 2004.
Podolski has won the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal with Bayern Munich. Internationally, he has the third place medals from two FIFA World Cups.