Ja­panese club has high hopes for Podolski

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

KOBE, JA­PAN — Ja­panese club Vis­sel Kobe rolled out the red car­pet for Ger­man striker Lukas Podolski on Thurs­day, hop­ing the high-pro­file sign­ing will im­prove their for­tunes in the J-League.

Ar­riv­ing by char­ter at Kobe Air­port, Podolski was greeted by a large group of Kobe sup­port­ers ea­ger to get a glimpse of the World Cup-win­ning striker.

“The first tar­get is to fight for the first three places (in the J-League) and to qual­ify for the (Asian) Cham­pi­ons League,” Podolski said. “I think as well it is a nice chal­lenge for me to see other coun­tries and play against other big teams.”

Podolski has moved from Turk­ish gi­ant Galatasaray after sign­ing a deal with Kobe es­ti­mated to be worth $5.3 mil­lion.

Kobe is in 11th place.

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