Markus Babbel is not worried about star striker Alexander Meier’s goalscoring record because he believes the Western Sydney Wanderers marquee man offers so much more.
The 36-year-old forward has hit the back of the net only once in his first five games in Red and Black since signing from German 2. Bundesliga outfit St Pauli in the off-season.
Meier has been struggling with a back injury through Western Sydney’s Round 6 bye and will receive a fitness test ahead of Friday’s nights clash with Hyundai A-League ladder-leaders Melbourne City.
Wanderers have picked up 10 points despite only scoring six goals, less than half of the tally Friday’s opponents have racked up.
But goalscoring is not how Babbel is judging Meier’s contribution to the Bankwest Stadium side.
“This is the mistake a lot of people do,” Babbel said.
“They only see the goals. If [Meier] is scoring many goals, then he is a top striker, if he is scoring only one goal he’s not so good.
“If you see his workrate, against the ball, especially the later couple of games we’re not playing our style of football.
“We have problems to dominate teams, to have the possession we normally want to have. He was working fantastic.
“This for me is important, he’s a team player. I wish he can score more goals because it’s also good for us.
“Also, if it’s not going in the right way, I want to see players fighting for the result.”
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City are the competition’s top scorers and Wanderers will face Jamie Maclaren and company without experienced defender Matt Jurman.
The Caltex Socceroo missed Western Sydney’s 2-1 loss to Western Sydney in Round 5 through injury and Babbel does not expect him to return, although Tarek Elrich is ‘looking very good’.
“Matty Jurman, I can’t believe that he will be in the squad but you never know,” Babbel said.
“Maybe he is going from one day to another, so much better. But I think next week is realistic.”