After scoring several goals in European top leagues and for the German national team, the world-class striker Lukas Podolski joined Vissel Kobe in the summer of 2017. He made an immediate impact by scoring a brace in his J.League debut, against Omiya Ardija.
Powerful yet accurate shots blasted from his left foot into the back of the net were a constant threat to the opponents, and fans were fascinated by a kind of power that is not often seen in Japan.
“Poldi" scored five goals in 15 appearances in his first season with Vissel Kobe, and he wore the captain’s armband in his second year. However, things not always went as he hoped, also due to injuries. Still, the German striker had his moments: for example, the volley scored from a lob provided by Andrés Iniesta against Nagoya Grampus surely was a memorable goal.
In his third season, he suffered more physical problems and made only 13 appearances. However, he scored his first hat-trick in Japan in his last league game against Júbilo Iwata. He also performed well in the Emperor’s Cup final, his very last match in Japan, helping Vissel to win their very first title.
During his two and a half years, Podolski netted 15 goals in 52 appearances. Considering his achievements in the past, fans had hoped to see more, but his work as a captain and his contribution to the development of Vissel Kobe into a winning team surely make him one of the great players in the history of the club.