Today we say thank you to Prinz Poldi,
thank you for being part of the Sommermärchen 2006,
thank you for bringing new hope to German football,
thank you for all the goals,
thank you for making us laugh so much,
thank you for being so lovely not only to your teammates but also to us fans
thank you for never losing your kindness, for never giving up,
thank you for all the great memories,
You’ll be remembered, Prinz Poldi! ❤️

It’s an hour until th ARD starts with their pre-match coverage. An hour and thirty minutes until the game starts. Lukas Podolski’s very last game for the national team. And I can’t deal with it.

Lukas Podolski was my very first favourite footballer. I wathed the world cup in 2006 and Lukas Podolski scored and assisted and had the happiest, most beautiful smile on his face and I loved him and never stopped.

Oh I liked Schweini just fine. And Miro would eventually maybe get a step ahead and become my favourite footballer of all time, but not yet. Not then. Then it was all Poldi’s goals and Poldi’s smile and a german national team shirt with the number 20.

I liked Köln because that was where Poldi was from. I followed him (and Miro) to Bayern München, and then passionately hated Bayern when they wouldn’t let either of them play.

I remember the game against poland in 2008. Poldi scored both goals, Miro assisted both of them and while all around them everyone shouted and celebrated, Poldi stayed still. He didn’t celebrate, didn’t shout. He hugged Miro and stayed quiet. Because Lukas Podolski loves Poland and he loves Germany. He decided to play for Germany but he never loved Poland any less.

He went back to Köln and it was beautiful. Poldi scored gorgeous goals, got his tenth goal of the month, assited Milivoje Novakovic and had fun. For a time he was captain even, but the next coach took that away again. The press was outraged. Poldi wasn’t. He simply scored another goal and jumped right into the arms of said coach, silencing everyone.

And then it didn’t work. Köln just wasn’t good enough. And Lukas went to the world cup 2010 with so many people already asking why he was even still there (just like they did with Miro). But Jogi was loyal to them. And they scored the first two goals for Germany in the tournament. Lukas missed the penalty against serbia and he looked so heartbroken for a moment. But it was just a moment. Againnst England he scored again, against Argentina he assisted one of Miros goals like in the old days, simple, fun, a smile on his face. And maybe he wasnt# the young kid who shoots for the stars anymore. No that was Thomas Müller and Mesut Özil, the super talented kids, everyone talked about. But Lukas was still there. And still amazing.

And he went to London and of course they loved him too. Köln didn’t mind that he left them again. And London loved him. Poldi “scores when he wants” and he wanted a lot. He was the most effective player of the PL for a time scoring close to every 90 minutes. It was him and Per and Mesut and it was good.

And then for some reason that only he understands Wenger didn’t let him play anymore. Lukas scored 2 goals in the CL only to sit on the bench again 3 days later. And so he left. Because Poldi just wants to play.

Inter Milan didn’t work. But Galatasaray Istanbul did. Oh maybe german fans didn’t like it much, looking down on the turkish league but Poldi didn’t care. He scored and the fans loved him and it was good -  it still is.

I don’t like to remember 2012. We went out in the semifinal and that wasn’t new but no one really went out of that tournament happy. We stopped feeling like it was good and started feeling like “when are we finally gonna win”

Well… and then 2014 came around. And Jogi took Poldi along again and the sport forums didn’t like it but again who cares. Shortly before the world cup, in a friendly, he assisted Miro to his 69th goal. Breaking the record of Gerd Müller. It was the last game they pplayed together.

In the world cup Lukas didn’t play much. But he was still so very important. Because he had been through all these bitter moments and he was still smiling laughing, making sure that the team didn’t tense up too much because they had to finally win it. At half-time against brazil he gave Miro a long hug. And the moment the final was finally over he ran onto the pitch and celebrated and laughed like always. Oh Miro cried. Basti cried. Lukas smiled and laughed and almost kissed Basti and said “ten years for this shit”

And then -  he didn’t leave. Quit while you’re ahead the others said and left and bowed out on the biggest stage of all, but not Lukas. He wanted to play. That was all he ever wanted. Not to win big titles -  though of course he loved it - not to break records - even though he broke a few. Just to play. And he still had energy and he still had Basti at his side.

The european championship 2016 finally. Lukas’ last tournament and again you might say he didn’t do much. Except when 3 players who are so important leave, you need the heart of the team to stay even more. No he didn’t do much on the pitch. But the german fans were still loudest when he came on and played together with Schweini one last time.

And Poldi saved Jogi’s ass like no one else could have. A joe, a typical Poldi, the press laughed and everything was fine again. We didn’t win. But who cares?

Some time after that Poldi scored a beautiful goal in a charity match. Assited by Dirk Nowitzki of all people. And he got his 11th goal of the month and again smiled like he always did.

And now in an hour he’ll play his last game for the national team. And he will laugh and smile and maybe score a goal with that amazing left foot of his.

And then he’ll go to Japan. A new club, a new country a new culture. And they too will love him just like everyone did at every club he’s been.And he will keep cologne in his heart and on his skin, just like the world cup and his family.

And I will miss him. Because he was the first who stole my heart and he is the last of the Sommermärchen protagonists to leave. Thank you Poldi. I will miss you. Keep that smile on your face