Arsenal attacker Lukas Podolski has admitted that he regrets leaving Bayern Munich for Koln in the summer of 2009.
The Germany international moved to the Allianz Arena from the RheinEnergieStadion in 2006 only to then return to his boyhood club three years later, after a difficult 2008-09 campaign in which he made just 14 Bundesliga starts.
However, Podolski now feels he would have been better off staying at Bayern, particularly as Jupp Heynckes was appointed coach just days after his departure.
"From a sporting point of view, my return to Koln was not very helpful for my career," the Arsenal attacker told Sport Bild.
"I think that I would now still have been with Bayern if only Jupp Heynckes had arrived at the club one or two weeks earlier.
"He really wanted to hold on to me."
Podolski was briefly linked with Schalke during the January transfer window, but he has stressed that a return to the Bundesliga was never an option.
"That was just a rumour," the 28-year-old insisted. "There was absolutely no truth in it. The manager [Arsene Wenger] has confirmed that to me. And I know that there was nothing to it myself, too."
Podolski has a contract with Arsenal until June 2016.