The Smell of the Game: Lukas Podolski on Fragrance, Football, and the Thrill of Victory


As we brace for the electrifying kick-off of the European football cup this week, 27 87 is delving into an unexpected yet fascinating aspect of the beautiful game: the world of scent. In the first edition of our series "WHAT DOES NOW SMELL LIKE? — THE ATHLETES EDIT.,“ we sit down with football legend Lukas Podolski, a champion both on the field and in his appreciation for fragrance.

Known for his infectious enthusiasm, Lukas reveals a lesser-known passion—his love for artistic perfumes, particularly 27 87's Wandervogel, a scent that embodies the spirit of adventure and the thrill of new experiences.

In this exclusive interview series – originally launching as a video series on our social channels over the next couple of weeks – we explore the unique connection between sports and scent. From the exhilarating aroma of freshly cut grass on a summer match day to the evocative musk of a hard-fought victory (and yes, even the bitter scent of defeat), Lukas shares his personal olfactory memories and insights.

Join us as we embark on a fragrant journey with one of football's most beloved icons, discovering how scent can capture the essence of competition, and the unwavering pursuit of triumph.

27 87: Lukas, let’s start right here and now. Can you describe what it smells like here during our interview?

Lukas Podolski: It smells like a construction site. They’re doing renovations at the stadium. It’s concrete, with just a hint of green grass because the construction is everywhere. There’s also a bit of a bratwurst smell. Here in Poland, we do love to barbecue. (laughs)

27 87: What similarities do you see between sports and perfume?
LP: Sports have so much to do with smells. I think of the smell of the grass when you arrive at a football match. The sweat on the field and the atmosphere in the stadium. These are all very intense smells.

27 87: You’re a big fan of niche fragrances. How did you get into them?
LP: Like with everything, I’m drawn to not following the mainstream and wearing something that hardly anyone else wears. The world of niche fragrances has really only emerged in recent years. That industry didn’t even exist before. You’d go to a department store, and everyone would buy some designer fragrance. When niche fragrances started, it immediately appealed to me. I found the topic exciting from the very beginning.
27 87: How big is your perfume collection?
LP: Phew, maybe 100 perfumes? I don’t know if that’s big or small, to be honest.

27 87: And what’s your favorite scent?
LP: From 27 87, definitely Wandervogel. I discovered it a few years ago, right after it came out, and it’s still one of my absolute favorites. Especially in the summer, I always spray on a bit more. The intense mint and freshness are really good after training. Wandervogel is and always will be my good mood scent.

27 87: How do you choose a fragrance?
LP: Well, it has to smell good, of course. But it’s just as important to me what the brand stands for and how it presents itself. It’s all part of it. It’s all a story. A niche fragrance isn’t something cheap that you can just buy at the drugstore. There’s an incredible amount of development behind it. These are people who spend months or years thinking about how the product looks, how it smells. Choosing a perfume is so much more than just picking up the next trendy fragrance in the store and thinking it’s cool.

27 87: And what type of fragrance person are you? There are quite a few categories – sweet, spicy, fresh.
LP: More the fresh type. (laughs) Anything that smells like summer, fresh laundry, and kind of light. All those leather or oud scents are too strong for me. I get a headache from them.

27 87: How often do you use perfume during the day?
LP: Usually in the morning and after training. A bit more in the morning, a little less after training. I don’t usually wear perfume in the evening, except on special occasions.
27 87: And do you wear a specific fragrance during a football match?
LP: Nah, I don’t spray on any fragrance during the game. But if the scent I’m already wearing stays on my jersey, that’s pretty cool. Maybe some of the guys I’ve swapped jerseys with still have good memories of me after the game. (laughs)

27 87: Let’s dive back into the world of scents. What smell immediately takes you back to your childhood?
LP: Definitely the street. The smell of asphalt, football… those are the smells that really remind me of my childhood. They bring back so many memories.

27 87: What smell do you associate with home?
LP: It’s always a bit different at our place. We cook a lot, so it really depends on what’s on the stove. I also like to switch up the scents depending on the season – winter, autumn, spring. We change it up often, depending on our mood.

27 87: What scent do you connect with football?
LP: Naturally, the smell of the grass, the green. That’s where we play every day. And then sweat – like always with sports. Our fans always come up with something creative too. Sometimes you think it’s New Year’s Eve because it smells of pyrotechnics and fireworks. But in general, it’s that green, that grass. I grew up with it as a kid, and it’s always been in my nose. It’s just pure football.

27 87: And what about victory?
LP: Honestly? The smell of beer in the locker room. I don’t love the smell, but it’s the smell of victory.

27 87: And lastly, what does defeat smell like?
LP: Defeat doesn’t smell like anything. Nothing at all.