Podolski: I left Bayern too soon
Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski has acknowledged he made a mistake in returning to hometown club Cologne in 2009 from Bayern Munich.
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The Germany international struggled to make the breakthrough in Munich following a transfer from Cologne in 2006.
However, he feels he rushed into a return home and that he should have stuck it out longer in Bavaria, and perhaps he would have broken into the first team under Jupp Heynckes.
"I believe that if Jupp Heynckes had arrived one or two weeks earlier in 2009, I would probably still be at Bayern now," he told Germany's Sport Bild magazine.
"He was desperate to keep me. From a purely sporting perspective, returning to Cologne was certainly not very helpful."
Despite scoring 18 goals in the 2011/12 season, Podolski was unable to prevent Cologne being relegated to the second tier and he subsequently joined the Gunners.
There was talk of him returning to Germany last month, with Schalke tipped as a potential destination, but Podolski says those rumours were unfounded.
"That was a myth. There was absolutely no truth to it," the 28-year-old said. "The coach told me as such, and I knew there was no truth in it."