Frankfurt - Amidst the general fulminating over the interplay between and in Eintracht Frankfurt's entertaining 3-2 victory over 1. FC Köln on Matchday 7, it was left to Thomas Schaaf to restore a note of sobriety.
“If they're going to play up front together, it doesn't do any harm for them to be compatible,” the Frankfurt coach pointed out, adding for good measure that, “there's still a lot of potential in both of them.”
Schaaf's low-key analysis was a masterclass in understatement after Meier had twice tucked away inch-perfect crosses from his new forward partner to help the Eagles to their third win of the campaign. It was a result which leaves them fifth in the table on 12 points going into Matchday 8 - “more than we'd been expecting,” the coach himself confessed.
Between them, the two strikers have accounted for seven of Eintracht's 12 goals and fans' favourite Meier, in particular, is enjoying another tremendous renaissance in form. An undisputed leader, on the books at Frankfurt since 2004 and their longest-serving current player, Meier had actually started the season on the bench amidst speculation that he might not fit into new boss Schaaf's system.
“Pretty much every new coach has difficulty finding a suitable position for Alex Meier at the start,” Frankfurt chairman Heribert Bruchhagen noted after the win against Köln. “Now, I think it's been found.” Bruchhagen has also been impressed by the diligent way in which the 31-year-old attacking midfielder knuckled down to work in the face of his initial demotion. “He's a model professional, defined by performance rather than headlines. Players like him make working in the office every day worthwhile.”
In that vein, Meier has been delivering his quietly efficient response out on the pitch. He marked his first starting appearance of the campaign with a goal at FC Schalke 04, then struck against 1. FSV Mainz 05 in the derby and the brace against Köln leaves him on four for the season. Typically, though, Meier preferred to heap praise on his service provider Seferovic after the contest, saying, “I can only thank him for a couple of great crosses. He teed the goals up on a plate for me.”
As far as the team's fine start to the league goes, the versatile veteran is singing from the same sober songsheet as his coach. “Fifth place is a nice snapshot, but there's a long way to go and it's all very tight at the bottom. We've got to keep an eye on what's happening behind us.” If Alex Meier and Co. can maintain their current form, however, they will soon be spending a lot more time looking firmly in the other direction.