An emotional Stefan Kiessling strongly hinted he was on his way out of Bayer Leverkusen – after helping them to their biggest win of the season on Saturday.
The German forward, who has been linked in the German press to Liverpool following Jurgen Klopp’s appointment as manager, was involved in four of his side’s five goals in a 5-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach, but admitted afterwards he might have played his last game for the club at the BayArena.
“I’ve got to be honest and say we’ll have to see,” said Kiessling as he appeared to fight back tears in an interview with Sky Sport Deutschland.
“I’ve given it some thought and I will keep thinking about it. The situation is that of course I would like to be playing – I’ve been here for 10 years and love this club and everybody knows how happy I am here.
“I’ve got a pretty good relationship with the fans and of course also with the club. I love playing here and I love this club, and it’s overall a very, very difficult situation for me and everybody knows this.
“I want to be playing a bit of football at the end of my career and that is why I’ve got to give things good thought.
“I’ll speak to the bosses and see what the best solution is.”
Klopp has since said he’s not expecting to make any signing in January, but when Kiessling spoke to a panel of pundits, several hundred fans entered the BayArena and called his name.
Lothar Matthaus, one of the panellists, said he could fully understand that Kiessling had to consider his future amid rumoured interest from the Premier League, especially at the age of 31.
“I think what Lothar’s said is right,” added Kiessling. “Of course I’ve not been happy, but overall I’ve had a decent season.
“I’m a team player and I try to do the best I can and to help the team. But I’ve got to be happy with the goals today, and it really does me good I can tell you!”
“I’ve been here nearly 10 years and always played and when you sit on the bench so often, then it does get on your nerves.”
Once the interview ended, Kiessling went to fans and embraced them, suggesting his mind might already be made up.
“I think that means this was his last game at the BayArena for Leverkusen,” added Matthaus.
On Saturday, Kiessling scored his 137th and 138th goals in the Bundesliga, moving level with Mario Gomez in 16th place on the Bundesliga all-time top-scorers’ list. No other player currently playing in the Bundesliga has scored as many.