Saturday, November 25, 2017

Germany’s Kroos plots to take Podolski’s spot

German attacking midfielder Toni Kroos on Monday announced his intention to take Lukas Podolski’s place on the left flank in the national side.

“All the players that play in positions where I can play are my rivals,” the Bayern Munich youngster told sport magazine Kicker.

“It’s not news to anyone that I can play on the left-hand side of midfield.

“It’s normal to show that you’re ambitious.”

Cologne forward Podolski, a former Bayern team-mate of Kroos’s, is currently national coach Joachim Loew’s preferred option on the left side of the attack in Germany’s 4-2-3-1 system and played there throughout the recent World Cup.

“Lukas has earned his place in the side,” continued Kroos.

“He’s played 80 international matches, with impressive statistics in front of goal, and has played in big tournaments. It’s up to me to try and achieve as much in the next five or six years.”

Podolski put in a subdued performance in Germany’s 1-0 win in Belgium in their opening Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday and was replaced by Kroos in the 70th minute.

Podolski, 25, has scored an impressive 40 goals in 80 games for Germany and shone at the World Cup despite a below-par season with Cologne.

He began his career at Cologne and rejoined the club in 2009 after a largely underwhelming three-year stint at Bayern.

The Polish-born forward is expected to start in Germany’s second qualifying match against Azerbaijan on Tuesday, in the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne where he plays his club football.

Kroos, 20, is one of the brightest talents to have graduated from the Bayern academy in recent years and enjoyed a successful loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen last season.

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