Former Bundesliga top scorer Alexander Meier reveals why he moved fast to join Wanderers
Tom Smithies, Football Editor, The Daily Telegraph
September 22, 2019 4:03pm
It took German striker Alexander Meier a matter of hours to answer the call of Western Sydney, and now the former Bundesliga Golden Boot winner is ready to play a leading role in a Wanderers revival.
Seeking one final challenge or experience near the end of his career, Meier cited the ambition of the club and the quality of the A-League as crucial factors in agreeing to move halfway round the world.
Counsel from former Eintracht Frankfurt teammate Pirmin Schwegler and Wanderers coach Markus Babbel sealed the rapid deal, and Meier will train with Schwegler and the rest of his new Western Sydney teammates immediately aiming to hothouse his match fitness ahead of the new season.
His interest piqued by watching former Wanderers midfielder Alex Baumjohann in Western Sydney’s colours last season, Meier was visibly impressed with Bankwest Stadium on Sunday, hours after touching down in Australia for the first time.
Just a week ago he told German media that he wanted an “interesting” deal to prolong his career, and that was the point at which Babbel’s number appeared on his phone.
“I said in Germany that I was waiting, but I only would do something I really stand behind,” he said.
“It's going to be a new challenge or new experience, and I think here (in Sydney) it all comes together.
“It is a new continent, a new country where I've never been. And for me, most important was the level of the football. That's the main thing — you can have a beautiful city but if the sport is not good or it is not a real challenge then it's no fun.
“The sport is the No 1 thing to fit in to my life and that was the case here.”
Having spent three-quarters of his career with Frankfurt, Meier might have been forgiven for seeking a wide range of advice before opting for the Wanderers — but Babbel needed an answer.
“There was no time!” Meier said.
“The coach was calling me and I made the decision in a day. Three days later I got on a plane.
“But I did speak to Pirmin, and the coach explained some stuff to me. Pirmin told me how great the club is and how ambitious, and that was important to me.
“I knew Markus as a great player — he won the European Championship with Germany. He was a national team player, a Champions League player, he won so many things.
“If a guy like that calls you, you feel honoured. We spoke, and then the decision was made in a day.
“Now I need to get my fitness up. I was training by myself and with a little team where I am from but fitness is just working hard. Getting to know your teammates comes with time but I think three weeks is fine.
“It's difficult to speak about myself, but I think I'm a team player. I'm happy when I score but if I can help with other things, with running or whatever, I will do that. It's not only about scoring, there's so many things a team needs. Everything I can do, I always tried and always will.”