Germany coach Joachim Low has praised Bayern Munich striker Lukas Podolski for his timely return to form - just as Germany discover veteran hot-shot Miroslav Klose is out for six weeks. With three goals in his last three games, including two in the 7-1 UEFA Champions League win over Sporting Lisbon last week, Podolski - voted the best young player at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ - is now on form after a barren year on the bench.
'Poldi' has failed to break into the Bayern first-team behind striker Luca Toni and Klose over the last two seasons and will return to Cologne in the summer. But Toni's achilles tendon injury last month gave him his chance and with Klose injuring an ankle at the weekend, Podolski will now lead Bayern's attack.
Germany have lost their last two home games after suffering friendly defeats to both England and Norway and badly need a big win over minnows Leichtenstein in their 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier on 28 March to boost flagging confidence. "Lukas has clearly taken his chance - not only because of his three goals in his last three games," Low said. "I see many positive things in his game."
Klose is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks following an operation on his injured right ankle having limped off the field during Bayern's 3-0 win over Bochum last Saturday. And with Bayern set to discover their Champions League quarter-final opponents in Friday's draw in Nyon, Podolski will have extra responsibility for Bayner in the coming weeks as well as in the Bundesliga. "As a substitute you have to be prepared for moments like these," said Low.
Germany have FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Leipzig on 28 March and Wales in Cardiff on 1 April and Low says he will look at all his options before selecting his forward pairing. Both Stuttgart's Mario Gomez and Leverkusen's Patrick Helmes are in good form and Low still has plenty of options in attack. He said: "Fortunately, we have other good strikers who want to prove themselves and they will get their chance to replace Miro."