Podolski feels the heat at Bayern
Bayern Munich striker Lukas Podolski looks set to be on his way out of the German giants as he runs out of chances to impress his bosses.
German international Podolski, voted the best young player at last year's FIFA World Cup, joined Bayern in June 2006 from second division Cologne, but had a poor first season scoring just four goals in 22 Bundesliga games.
Injury struck in April when he damaged knee ligaments and just as he resumed training in July, Bayern recruited Miroslav Klose and Italian FIFA World Cup winner Luca Toni who have scored 14 Bundesliga goals between them in eight games.
With Klose currently injured, a fever kept Podolski out of the Bayern squad for Thursday night's first-round, second-leg tie against Portuguese side Belenenses and the 22-year-old is running out of chances to make his mark.
"We are not content and expected much more from him," said Bayern's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Bayern have huge resources in attack with Toni and Klose locking down the first-team places while teenager Toni Kroos, top scorer at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, and reserve-team striker Sandro Wagner are waiting in the wings.
German striker Jan Schlaudraff is also competing for a place in the first-team and Werder Bremen have expressed their interest in Podolski where the Polish-born striker would at least be guaranteed Bundesliga football.
"Lukas is lacking chances, because Miroslav and Luca are playing so well," said coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. "Even if Lukas were playing sensational football, he would have to wait. His lack of opportunities has nothing to do with his performances."
The player met with Bayern's management at the weekend with club manager Uli Hoeness saying it was a "good chat".
But Hoeness felt compelled to say there was no discussion over his contract and Rummenigge said: "All we want is for Lukas to be happy, to reach his goals and to play well.
"But if he continues in the current style, he will not be happy here."
Interestingly, Podolski has made four appearances off the bench for Bayern this season yet had his first start when he won his 40th cap in last month's friendly against Romania and scored his 23rd goal for Germany in the 3-1 win.
National coach Joachim Low is protective of Podolksi and says all he lacks is first-team football.
Podolski himself has repeatedly asked for chances to prove himself with Bayern, but in four appearances off the bench has yet to score.
And with Bremen set to table a cash offer for the German international in time for January's transfer window, it seems Podolski's days at Bayern are numbered.