Germany′s Strikers Eye Crunch Game With Mixed Emotions | Features | DW | 14.06.2006
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Germany's Strikers Eye Crunch Game With Mixed Emotions

Germany's clash against Poland Wednesday is set to be an emotional rollercoaster for striker duo Miroslav Kose and Lukas Podolski. Both were born in Poland, speak Polish and want to play particularly well -- for Germany.

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Klose (l.) and Podolski (ctr.) are the envy of the Poles

German striker Lukas Podolski won't be singing the national anthem on Wednesday before the much-awaited game against Poland.

"It's a very special situation and quite a strange feeling when the Polish national anthem and then the German one rings out," Podolski said this week.

Fußball, Lukas Podolski

Podolski won't be singing the national anthem Wednesday

Born in 1985 in Silesia in Poland, Podolski has both German and Polish citizenship. Though he knows the national anthems of both countries, he says he'd rather not sing along with either. "I feel at home in both countries."

In 1987, Podolski's father Waldemar immigrated to Germany with his family to become a professional soccer player himself. Podolski was just two at the time.

Podolski still has close ties to his first home. A self-confessed lover of Polish music, the young striker visits his grandmother in Poland several times every year.

But it won't just be Podolski who will be entering Wednesday's game with mixed emotions.

"A very emotional game"

Miroslav Klose, one of the Bundesliga's best goal-getters, has Polish roots too and his background is fairly similar to that of Podolski's.

Miroslav Klose

Klose plays for German league club Werder Bremen

Born in Upper Silesia in Poland, Klose came to Germany with his parents at the age of eight. His foray into soccer was no surprise -- Klose's father was a soccer player and even represented the Polish national soccer team, and his mother was a Polish national handball player.

Wednesday's encounter with Poland "will be a very emotional game," Klose said.

Both Podolski and Klose sometimes speak to each other in Polish, but they say they'll avoid that during Wednesday's game.

"We've played together so often, we really don't need many words," according to Podolski.

"Getting straight to the point"

German coach Jürgen Klinsmann will be hoping that that tacit understanding between his two best strikers will translate into a flawless performance on the pitch. The match against Poland is crucial -- Germany could either advance into the knockout round or Poland could pack its bags and head home.

Klinsmann has already warned that the game will be tough.

"I'm assuming that it will get straight to the point right away, he said, adding that the Poles will be giving the game all they've got.

Stadion WM 2006 Eröffnungsspiel Polen - Ecuador 09.06.06 Gelsenkirchen Zweikampf Segundo Castillo und Szymkowiak

The Poles delivered an unimpressive performance against Ecuador

The Poles' expected bitter fight to remain in the World Cup has been fuelled by a vitriolic Polish media that has slammed the team's disastrous 0-2 loss against Ecuador over the weekend. The fact that two of Germany's most dangerous players to watch on Wednesday are Polish-born, makes the situation all the more ironic for the Poles.

Poles' yearn for striker-duo

"If I could, I would personally collect the two (Klose and Podolski) and exchange them for two of our players," Grzegorz Lato, a Polish sports official and World Cup ambassador told the Berliner Zeitung this week.

Jörg Ciszewski, a journalist with the Schlesische Wochenblatt, a weekly in Klose's Polish hometown told DW-WORLD.DE that the Poles are still sore that Klose decided to play for the German national team rather than the Polish one.

"That's commented a bit ironically here in Poland," said Ciszewski. "It's a bit like: if we had strikers Podolski and Klose, then it would have been much better for us -- we would have won that first game."

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