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Bayern versus Köln, or Gomez versus Podolski

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Bayern versus Köln, or Gomez versus Podolski

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:20 pm

They are team-mates for Germany, rivals in the race to finish leading scorer in the Bundesliga, and figureheads for the opposing sides at the Allianz Arena on Friday evening: Mario Gomez, the best striker in the league last season and the top marksman this term with 15 goals, versus Lukas Podolski, on 14 goals of his own and, just like Gomez, in the form of his career.

"I'm not at all surprised," Manuel Neuer said when asked about the hitman from Cologne, "we've trained together for the national team, and I know what happens when he gets a chance with the ball on his left foot. He has an exceptionally good shot." The player nicknamed Poldi, who scored 16 goals in 71 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern between 2006 and 2009, was at it again on Tuesday, rescuing his side a point in a 1-1 home draw with Mainz thanks to a late long-range effort.

Podolski has personally struck more than half of Köln's 27 league goals this season, and has provided a further five assists. The German media has branded the 26-year-old his team's life insurance policy. "It's important we get him under control on Friday," said Neuer, warning against Köln's prowess on the break. "You always have to keep an eye on him. He's quick, with and without the ball."

Poldi undefeated in Munich

Köln boss Stale Solbakken reckons Podolski is playing "the best football of his career," and the striker is thoroughly looking forward to the Bayern head-to-head. "It'll be good to see my Germany team-mates and the people I knew from my time there," said the Cologne crowd hero, who has never lost in Munich with his hometown club: all four visits have ended in draws. "Just like we've done every year for a while, we'll see if we can annoy Bayern a bit," he announced, "but we know Bayern Munich are the best team in the Bundesliga."

Podolski has never before scored 14 goals in a season, but he is reluctant to place too much store by his new personal best at such an early stage of the campaign. "It isn't that important," he insisted, "I'm just trying to enjoy my football and perform for the club." FCB top scorer Gomez has been saying very similar things of late. In the Bundesliga and the Champions League, the 26-year-old former Stuttgart man boasts a strike rate of a goal per game, and is the leading scorer in both competitions.

Praise from Beckenbauer

"There are good reasons why Mario is the first-choice striker at Bayern. He has really impressive stats," commented Thomas Müller. Franz 'Kaiser' Beckenbauer is equally impressed: "He's not been this good for a very long time." Looking at the year 2011 as a whole, Gomez has 31 goals in the league. Taking the Champions League, German cup and the national team into account, he is up to fully 49 goals for the calendar year. The aim is to add the 50th when Köln visit on Friday.

Gomez remains unmoved by the chorus of praise directed at him. "I'm not really interested in all the talk. If I don't score for a couple of weeks, they call it a crisis. When I start scoring again, they say I'm about to break Gerd Müller's record." Instead, the 26-year-old is a model of coolness: "It's going very well at the moment. I'm the centre forward in a very good team, and scoring goals is my job."
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