Arsenal-bound Podolski out to help Cologne stay up
Arsenal-bound Lukas Podolski is hoping to be fit to help Cologne in their battle to stay in the German league against his former club Bayern Munich on Saturday on the last weekend of the Bundesliga.
The 26-year-old Germany striker confirmed on Monday he has signed for the Gunners for next season, but with Cologne 16th in the league they need at least a point to give themselves a chance of staying up.
Podolski missed training on Thursday with an upset stomach, but coach Frank Schaefer is confident he will have his Germany star fit to face Bayern, who will finish second in the table.
"Bayern won't give us anything for free, they will be playing their top team and will give everything." said Podolski before being taken ill.
"We have to hold our possession and fight hard, we have to remember how we beat them 3-2 last season at home."
Munich are buoyed by Thursday's news that Dutch star Arjen Robben extended his contract until 2015 with his team set to take on Chelsea in the Champions League final at Munich's Allianz Arena on May 19.
In contrast, Cologne can not finish higher than 16th, but with Hertha Berlin, who host Hoffenheim, just two points behind, they can not afford to lose.
The side which finishes 16th in the German league faces a two-leg play-off against the team third from top in the second division in the next two weeks with a place in the top flight at stake.
Podolski says he hopes Cologne can safeguard their future and will do all he can to keep them in the German league before he leaves.
"Of course, I definitely want us to stay up," said Podolski, who spent three seasons at Bayern from 2006 until 2009 but failed to make his mark.
"After my departure, I will keep my fingers crossed that the club continues to function.
"I hope it won't be the case that once Podolski is away, everything falls apart.
"I hope that they go forward with the new board and build in the next few years everything which was promised to me back then."
With the German league already decided, champions Borussia Dortmund will be presented with the Bundesliga shield on Saturday regardless of the result in their final home match against Freiburg.
Jurgen Klopp's team, which has amassed 78 points, could make history as they look to break Bayern's record of 79 points, achieved twice at the start of the 1970s, for the most points collected in a German league season.
Dortmund will be waving goodbye to Paraguay striker Lucas Barrios who has signed a deal with Chinese club Guangzhou for next season having lost his place in the starting team to Poland's Robert Lewandowski.
Nuremberg v Bayer Leverkusen, Cologne v Bayern Munich, Werder Bremen v Schalke 04, Augsburg v Hamburg, Borussia Dortmund v Freiburg, Hanover 96 v Kaiserslautern, Hertha Berlin v Hoffenheim, VfB Stuttgart v VfL Wolfsburg, Mainz 05 v Borussia M'gladbach
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