• Kyodo


Vissel Kobe striker Lukas Podolski, who is back in Germany treating a left thigh injury, will not take part in this weekend’s Emperor’s Cup semifinals, the team’s development director Kentaro Aita said Wednesday.

According to Aita, the former star of Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Inter Milan, who made his league debut with Vissel in late July, returned to Germany on Dec. 5 and was diagnosed with an adductor muscle strain needing three weeks of rest.

He will miss the Dec. 23 match against Cerezo Osaka at Yanmar Stadium. Should Vissel advance to the Jan. 1 final, Podolski appears unlikely to play.

“We want him to be in top form when the season opens next year,” Aita said.

Aita said the 32-year-old Podolski, who in June signed a deal with Kobe estimated to be worth ¥600 million (around $5.3 million), requested a medical exam and treatment in Germany after a hospital visit earlier this month.

The club has been in contact with him and his physician, and expects him back in mid-January at earliest.

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