Former Cologne and Bayern Munich man Lukas Podolski scored 49 goals in 130 appearances for Germany. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Former Cologne and Bayern Munich man Lukas Podolski scored 49 goals in 130 appearances for Germany. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Lukas Podolski, the Little Prinz


One hundred and thirty appearances, 49 goals: Lukas Podolski brought the curtain down on his international career in style in March this year, scoring the only goal of the game in Germany's 1-0 friendly win over England. salutes a man Joachim Löw hailed as "one of the best players Germany has produced" by remembering some of 'Prinz Poldi's' finest moments.

Season 2003/04, Matchday 16: Hansa Rostock 1-1 Cologne

Podolski had made his Bundesliga debut in a 1-0 defeat to Hamburg on Matchday 13, but the reign of 'Prinz Poldi' at his hometown club really started on the Baltic coast. Florian Kringe's cross from the right was headed beyond Mathias Schober by a fresh-faced teenager few beyond the shadow of Cologne's world-famous Dom had heard of. That would soon change following this, the first of 79 league strikes in 169 Bundesliga matches in two spells with the Billy Goats.

Season 2003/04, Matchday 31: Cologne 1-2 Bayern

Podolski, aged just 18, had already got people talking with six goals in 12 league games for a struggling team when he burst to the forefront of the German football landscape by spectacularly beating legendary Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. The man who had almost single-handedly dragged Germany to the 2002 FIFA World Cup final was emphatically undone by a wickedly dipping half-volley from the talented teenager who would soon become his international team-mate.

Watch: Lukas Podolski's top five Bundesliga goals

Season 2007/08, Matchday 28: Bayern Munich 5-0 Borussia Dortmund

Though the 2006 FIFA World Cup on home soil would be Kahn and Podolski's last international experience together, the pair were immediately reunited at Bayern that summer. Twelve months later, the arrival of Luca Toni limited Podolski to substitute appearances for the most of the campaign - but on a rare start against a Borussia Dortmund team featuring an inexperienced Mats Hummels, he teamed up with the Italy striker to score a goal of rare finesse and controlled power just three minutes in to set Bayern cantering to a Klassiker triumph to remember.

Season 2010/11, Matchday 24: Cologne 1-0 Freiburg

Back in the familiar surroundings of his home city after a largely underwhelming spell in Bavaria, Podolski had been given the captain's armband by coach Frank Schaefer. His influence in the dressing-room owed as much to his talents on the pitch as his leadership qualities, and it was the former that shone through two minutes from time against the visitors from the Black Forest. It was another stunning half-volley reminiscent of the one that beat Kahn, which should be of some comfort to Freiburg goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.

2014 FIFA World Cup final: Germany 1-0 Argentina

Podolski contributed just 53 minutes on the pitch in adding a fourth star to the Nationalmannschaft's shirt in Brazil with a thigh injury cutting short his tournament. His influence in the dressing-room was invaluable, though, as he kept morale high en route to claiming football's ultimate prize. "Along with sporting worth, personality also counts for me," Joachim Löw said when justifying Podolski's surprise selection for UEFA EURO 2016. "What a player contributes on and off the pitch is important."

Follow this link to recap Prinz Poldi's international swansong