Podolski shocked to see Niersbach resign


Lukas Podolski admits the resignation of DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach has come as a huge shock to the Germany squad.

The head of the German Football Association stepped down from his post on Monday following the scandal surrounding allegations of bribery in the bidding process for the 2006 World Cup.

Niersbach, who only took the role in 2007, has always denied any personal wrongdoing and stated that his decision to resign was in order to help protect the integrity of the DFB.

Podolski says the reigning world champions have always enjoyed a strong working relationship with the 64-year-old and was saddened by his decision.

"I don't know if the case is a big issue in the team," he said. "But I think that some players talk to each other about it.  

"I can say that it is really surprising to me that Wolfgang Niersbach decided to step down. In my opinion, Mr. Niersbach was a great president. He was close to the team and he had a great relationship with me and the other players in the squad and we had fun with him. We won the World Cup under his presidency and so it's really surprising to me.

"I can't tell you anything about the whole process. The only thing I can say is that he was a great president and I had never negative experiences with him. So I regret his decision."

Podolski is now back to fitness and form with Galatasaray and the former Arsenal forward says he is feeling increasingly happy with life in Turkey.

He added: "I feel very comfortable. Istanbul is a nice city and I play for a great club with great fans and nice stadium. My performances were good and I hope that it continues in that way in the next few weeks and months.

"I'm fit because I play regularly so I've got my power back during the last few weeks and I can show that on the pitch. That's the reason why things are good. I want to continue playing in a good and successful way. That is my goal."

Germany face France and Netherlands in friendly matches over the next week and Podolski is looking forward to two stern tests for his side.

"There will be two great games against two great opponents. I have good memories about our last game against France although I didn't play in that game: it was our win at the World Cup.

"We always have great memories about our games against Holland. My first game against Holland was 2004 during the European Championships: it was my first big tournament with Germany. 

"I hope that the games will be more attractive than our last games. I hope that our opponents have the intention to play with us instead of just playing in a very defensive way.

"Hopefully the games will be great, also for the fans. So we want to perform in a very good way and we want to  win both games."