Age can be deceiving, especially if you’re 35-year-old Miroslav Klose, attempting to surpass the international goalscoring record of Gerd Muller for Germany later on Tuesday night.
The opposition, in the shape of the Faroe Islands, ranked a lowly 175 in the FIFA world rankings, could not be much easier for the German striker to some shine to his already outstanding international record.
Klose has, like Muller, 68 goals for Die Mannschaft, but can claim the record for himself with a striker in tonight's World Cup qualifier in the Faroe capital, Torshavn.
But here’s perhaps five things you might not have known about the Polish-born striker.
He trained as a carpenter before moving to Kaiserslautern at the age of 20:
The striker wasn’t developed in a modern-day Bundesliga academy. In fact, he learned his trade part-time where men became men: the regional divisions.
After training with SG-Blaubach Diedelkopf in his local region, he moved to former Bundesliga side FC Homburg, in a stay that lasted less than six months.
Kaiserslautern, German champions in ’98, came calling for Klose; an impressive conquest for a mainly amateur footballer who had already gone through his apprenticeship to become a carpenter.
He tells RP-Online: “The images I see before my eyes. I had to work out everything myself. Therefore, it is not difficult for me to motivate myself.
"I have learned a trade and know how hard it is to work as a carpenter on a construction site, to get up at five and eight only to come home.
“Today I have fun all day. It is a dream, something very special to be a footballer.”
Despite having never been to Poland pre-2012, Klose speaks Polish every day at home:
Born in Poland to Polish parents, you’d be forgiven for wondering why Klose opted to play for Germany. In his own words, he’s “a European” having moved to his adopted homeland at the age of eight.
But with his Polish wife and two children, Klose speaks Polish on the telephone every morning and that’s his language of choice at home. Pre-2012, Klose had never been to Warsaw and only been back to Poland on a handful of occasions.
That time when Klose had his own surprise initiation into the cauldron of the Rome derby:
Lazio against Roma is one of the biggest derbies in the European football calendar, combining passion, drama and more often than not, violence.
He said in 2010: “Before I came here, I had never seen a postman kneel on my doorstep and kiss my feet. It’s happened to me here.”
Klose added that his postman had gone five games without his beloved Lazio winning a Rome derby and as a devout Catholic, he was happy to offer his prayers to have the desired impact on the pitch.
A ‘late bloomer’ in every sense with spells at Kaiserslautern, Bremen and Bayern Munich:
Klose made his Bundesliga debut at the age of 21 in April 2000, with a 15-minute sub appearance against Eintracht Frankfurt. The striker is regularly blasted for his lack of scoring prowess at club level, instead saving his best form for the German national team.
Yet in a 12-year Bundesliga career, Klose hit 111 goals in 307 games which is still a pretty decent record, given the two seasons at Bayern where he mustered only four goals.
The Lazio man had some excellent scoring records at Werder Bremen with 25 in 26 in 2005-06 and 53 goals in 89 games in total.
Klose holds the record of scoring the most headed goals at the World Cup:
Perhaps Klose’s biggest asset as a player has been his immense aerial ability inside the penalty box.
He’s scored five times with his head at World Cup finals – a record that still stands today – and has scored at least five goals at two separate World Cups (2002 and 2006, where he was top scorer).
Impressive facts – but here’s some of his World Cup goals below:
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