THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Podolski set to join historic “Club of 100”

Lukas Podolski

Lukas Podolski will reach a historic mark, when Germany take on Denmark in a Group B match of the UEFA EURO 2012 later today. The Germany star could earn his 100th cap for the “Mannschaft” at a age of just 27 and join the legendary “Club of 100” as the 10th German.

“I’m proud. Yes, I’m proud. That’s how I feel,” Podolski told in an interview with German newspaper Morgenpost. “It is unbelievable that I’m going to play my 100th international match. I’ve never dreamed of playing for Germany so many times.”

“I’m still so young and I’ve represented Germany so many tims. That’s unbelievable,” the German told.

The Arsenal-bound star of Polish origin started his career with the German team on June 6, 2012, when he made his senior international debut for the Germans in a 0-2 loss against Hungary. The 19-year-old Podolski came on as a substitute for Fredi Bobic in a UEFA EURO 2004 preparation match at Kaiserslautern.

The striker, a product of the 1. FC Cologne Academy, has turned into a familiar face of the German team since then and he scored a total of 43 goals for Team Germany.

Talking about his most emotional match and the most emotional goal, Podolski told: “The first group match at the UEFA EURO 2008 against Poland was the most emotional one for me. It has affected me a lot to play with Germany against my country of birth.”

Podolski, popularly know as “Poldi”, scored both goals in the match and didn’t celebrate the goals in respect of his native country. “I was happy that I had scored, but I couldn’t celebrate. Poland is my native country and I still have many relatives there. The match was very special to me and it was very emotional.”

The German “Club of 100” is lead by legendary 1990 World Cup winning captain Lothar Matthäus, who has 150th caps in the record books. Podolski is in a position to overtake Matthäus with many more senior international caps expected from him in the coming years. But Poldi is not looking forward with the aim to break the all-time record.

“The 150 caps of Lothar Matthäus have been never my target. I’ve always said that it would be a dream to represent Germany in 100 international matches. Nobody can take this achivement away from me.”

Lukas Podolski has played many matches with the German team in the past and only a few fans know that Poldi has also played against India many years ago! Young Podolski and his 1. FC Cologne U17 Team took on the Indian U17 national team in a friendly match at the Sportschule Hennef, Germany on August 18, 2002. The Indian team with the likes of Subrata Pal, Gouramangi Moirangthem Singh and Rocus Lamare were in Germany for a training camp organised by my good old friend Arunava Chaudhuri and myself.

The Indian team registered a 3-3 draw against the Cologne youngsters. India were leading 3-1 till the 85th minute of the game, but conceded two goals by an unknown striker called Lukas Podolski.

None of us expected Podolski to make this spectacular way to the top of world football in the years to come. But Poldi has turned into one of the most respected and highly-rated German players with a global fan base.

I wish Lukas all the best for the upcoming UEFA EURO 2012 matches and the rest of his career. And who knows… Maybe we will meet again after a Germany v India match somewhere in the future and have a chat about the memories of the match in 2002.