Podolski seals Cologne return

Image: Podolski: Set for summer switch

Lukas Podolski has agreed to rejoin former club Cologne at the end of the season.

Striker secures Bayern exit

Lukas Podolski has agreed to rejoin former club Cologne at the end of the season. The Germany international is set for an emotional return to the side that put him on the path to stardom. The 23-year-old spent three goal-laden years at the Rhein Energie Stadion before securing a big-money move to Bayern Munich in 2006. Despite securing a Bundesliga title, a League Cup and a German Cup success during his time at Allianz Arena, he has grown increasingly frustrated by his lack of first-team action. Bright displays at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008 helped to put him in the shop window, with Luca Toni and Mirsoslav Klose continuing to block his way at Bayern. He has, however, now decided to return to Cologne for a fee reported to be in the region of 10million euros (£9m).

Challenge

"I have agreed a deal with Cologne starting from 1st July," Podolski said on his personal website. "I am glad the decision regarding my future has been taken and all the speculation about me is finally over. "I have held very good discussions with (Cologne coach) Christoph Daum and (Cologne manager) Michael Meier and I am fully convinced of the club's concept. "I look forward to the challenge." Meanwhile, Cologne chairman Wolfgang Overath is delighted to have secured a significant coup for the club "I am glad Lukas is returning to us. He followed his heart," he told the club's official website. "I am also delighted that we as a newly-promoted club could sign a Germany international like Lukas Podolski."

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