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Podolski stripped of Cologne captaincy

Lukas Podolski has been replaced as Cologne captain by Brazilian defender Pedro Geromel.

Podolski, 26, is a popular figure amongst Cologne's fans and is in his second spell at the club, but has been stripped of the captaincy in a move designed to hail a new era under new coach Stale Solbakken.

"I can understand the reactions this decision will provoke and I can understand the disappointment of some fans," Solbakken said. "But I ask the fans to understand my decision is for the benefit of the whole team.

"Pedro Geromel will as captain exemplify the new culture of the team and embody our new overall sporting concept. In my conversations with him, Lukas has expressed his disappointment but at the same time respected and understood the reasons for my decision."

Podolski netted 13 Bundesliga goals for Cologne last season, and has also featured 89 times for the German national side.

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