13.10.2006: Löw praises Podolski

German Football
By German Football October 13, 2006 17:41

13.10.2006: Löw praises Podolski

Germany coach Joachim Löw picked out 21-year-old Lukas Podolski for special praise after the striker scored twice in Germany’s 4-1 thrashing of Slovakia on Wednesday. The victory extended Loew’s unbeaten streak to five matches since he took over from Juergen Klinsmann after the World Cup, and put Germany in a strong position in their Euro 2008 qualifying Group D where they sit second behind the Czech Republic, with one game in hand.

Podolski’s brace in Bratislava took his international tally to 22 in 37 matches and silenced the critics who had lambasted him for an uneccesary red card in a friendly against Georgia on Saturday. ‘Lukas is a jewel,’ Löw remarked. ‘It’s enormous what he has accomplished so far at the age of 21. It’s the responsibility of all of us in the team to take care of him.’

Podolski was criticised by his Bayern Munich coach Felix Magath last week for ‘smiling too much’ when he sits on the bench and Germany captain Michael Ballack also said in a newspaper interview that Podolski needed to keep working to improve and should not become complacent. ‘I’m not having any crisis, I’m not worried about anything,’ Podolski said after the Slovakia victory. ‘Every day’s a dream for me. I enjoy life and I enjoy football. What others say doesn’t mean a damn thing.’

Ballack praised Podolski’s performance against Slovakia: ‘A good player delivers answers to his critics on the pitch. He didn’t let anyone disturb him and kept his cool. But he must keep it up.’

Germany, who finished third at the World Cup, are having their best run in years with only one loss – to Italy in the semi-final – in the last 16 matches they played. Löw said he was extremely happy with the way his side is performing. ‘We took a big step forward with the victory in Slovakia,’ Löw said. ‘It was important to beat a team in our group that will probably play an important role in which teams ultimate qualify for the European finals. Our performance in the first half was very, very good. The defence and midfield were excellent, winning balls back from Slovakia and quickly playing them forward.’

Germany face Cyprus in their next Euro 2008 qualifying match on November 15 in Nicosia.

German Football
By German Football October 13, 2006 17:41
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