2010 FIFA World Cup: Why Lukas Podolski Has To Play a Crucial Role for Germany

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2010 FIFA World Cup: Why Lukas Podolski Has To Play a Crucial Role for Germany
Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Germany are always a dangerous proposition in the World Cup. In 2006, Germany's good showings were rewarded with a third spot, but they obviously must have been disappointed at not winning the tournament with it being played in their own country.

The striking duo of Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski did remarkably well, with Klose winning the Golden Boot and Podolski, along with a host of players, finishing second on the scoring charts by totaling three goals.

Podolski also earned the World Cup's Best Young Player honors. His World Cup debut couldn't have been any better.

Podolski was also eligible to play for Poland, but he was persuaded to wear the shirt of Germany. In hindsight, it was the right decision.

However, Podolski's club career hasn't been a bed of roses. His high-profile move to Bayern Munich from FC Koln in 2006 didn't end up well, as he was pushed down the pecking order after the arrival of Luca Toni, which forced him to make a return back to his spiritual home—FC Koln.

His recent form is not really promising anything spectacular, having only scored twice in the 2009-10 Bundesliga season.

But someone who had witnessed Podolski's transformation from a left-winger to a deadly striker might have something to say about it.

His international record is enviably good. He has already scored 37 goals for Germany in 70 appearances, and he would no doubt like to add a few more to that tally in the forthcoming weeks, when the world's greatest sporting event kick starts in the Rainbow Nation.

Germany will be concerned over the form of Mario Gomez and Klose, who's a mere shadow of his former self.

Gomez, too, hasn't impressed much after joining Bayern Munich in a big-money transfer.

So, the onus will be on Podolski to deliver. He himself hasn't had the best of the season, but that isn't enough to write him off.

Germany find themselves in an an easier group, which should make their passage to the Last 16 a lot simpler. Having said that, Ghana, Serbia, and Australia will not bow down so easily without putting up a fight.

Ghana would like to convert the home advantage into something noteworthy.

Serbia, on the other hand, are a rapidly improving side with a handful of players plying their trade in Europe's elite leagues—Dejan Stankovic, Nemanja Vidic, and Neven Subotic, to name a few.

And the "minnows" in Australia aren't pushovers, beating the best teams from Asia.

Germany should still make it past these teams quite easily, though. And Podolski has a big role to play if Germany are to win their fourth title.

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