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Podolski eager to join Inter's German greats

Lukas Podolski's loan move has stirred memories of FC Internazionale Milano's German pioneers, including "the best opponent" Diego Maradona faced.

Lukas Podolski made his debut for Inter in a draw at Juventus
Lukas Podolski made his debut for Inter in a draw at Juventus ©Getty Images

"I hope we will have a fantastic season together," said Arsenal FC striker Lukas Podolski after joining FC Internazionale Milano on loan until the end of the season. "I am really happy to be here. I want to help the team to qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League."

A FIFA World Cup winner in 2014, the former 1. FC Köln and FC Bayern München player, 29, is now hoping he can match the achievements of four other German stars who made their names in Milan – including three 1990/91 UEFA Cup winners.

Lothar Matthäus (1988-92)
In his first season after joining Inter from Bayern, Matthäus helped his side to win the Scudetto with 58 points from 34 games – a Serie A record tally during the days of two points for a win. Matthäus scored the winner in the 2-1 win against SSC Napoli that gave Inter that title, and showed his immense leadership skills in guiding Inter to 1991 UEFA Cup success – Inter's first European trophy in 26 years. "He is the best opponent I ever faced in my life – I guess that's all you need to know about him," said Napoli and Argentina hero Diego Maradona.

Brehme and Matthäus with the UEFA Cup
Brehme and Matthäus with the UEFA Cup©Getty Images

Andreas Brehme (1988-92)
Matthäus's travelling companion, the skilful left-back joined his international team-mate in heading from Bayern to Inter in 1988 and was another pillar of Giovanni Trapattoni's side, known as 'Inter dei record' (the record-breaking Inter). Joined Matthäus in winning a Serie A title, the 1989 Italian Supercup and the 1991 UEFA Cup with Inter, earning a reputation as one of the team's best penalty takers.

Jürgen Klinsmann (1989-92)
Matthäus and Brehme's successes prompted Inter to buy German again the following summer, with VfB Stuttgart striker Klinsmann winning the 1989 Italian Supercup soon after arriving, though Inter could only finish third in Serie A in 1989/90. The UEFA Cup the following season made up for any disappointment, and while Klinsmann, Matthäus and Brehme all left Inter at the end of a disappointing 1991/92 campaign, the future Germany and United States boss returned for a six-month spell in Italy with UC Sampdoria in the 1997/98 season.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (1984-1987)
A two-time Golden Ball winner and European champion with West Germany in 1980, Rummenigge joined Inter from Bayern in 1984 and spent three seasons in Milan. Despite several injuries, the striker managed to score 24 goals in 64 games for the club before moving on to Servette FC in 1987.