Friday night's Bundesliga match against Hamburg was yet another sign that Eintracht Frankfurt rely far too much on the club's only prolific striker. How long can he keep them above the drop zone for?
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-0 Hamburg
As the Bundesliga rounds roll on it has become ever more evident that Eintracht Frankfurt's survival from relegation this season relies intensively on the shoulders of the club's most prized possession. Against Hamburg on Friday night, the Eagles' “Fussball Gott” (football god) was lost, and thus, so were the rest of the team.
In the calendar year of 2016, Frankfurt have only managed six Bundesliga goals, with five of them being scored by Alexander Meier. The lone striker for Armin Veh's side has scored 12 goals in total this season, which is almost half of the team's collection of 27 for the season so far.
Surprisingly, Frankfurt would only be four points worse off without Meier rather than with him, but it isn't all about the 33-year old's ability to find the net for his side. More of the team's struggles come down to the lack of a "plan B" that is so obvious when Meier is playing, but isn't producing.
The club's second-best goal scorer in the Bundesliga this season is Luc Castaignos, who has managed four goals in his debut campaign with the club. Only two other players have scored more than once: Haris Seferovic (who hasn't found the net since November, 2015) and Marc Stendera (who hasn't scored since October, 2015).
But it is not as if chances aren't being created for those around Meier. Against Hamburg, Meier himself only managed a single shot on goal, with his disciples having the best of the chances. Makoto Hasebe came close with a crisp volley just after half-time, while Stefan Aigner and Marco Russ both sent efforts narrowly wide. Seferovic also had his chances after coming on from the bench, but lacked confidence when it was needed most.
It can't be all about Meier
In the end, Bruno Labbadia's traveling side should have come out on top in the game after an array of chances in the first half, but neither goalkeeper was significantly troubled in what became a tame affair.
Looking at the bigger picture, despite the second goalless draw between these two big Bundesliga clubs who have seen better days, this season, the matches themselves, especially on Friday, showed two clubs going in different directions.
A confident Hamburg were creating chances at will, but not executing like they had done in previous weeks. While Frankfurt were struggling to even create, with a wonky defense and an overrun midfield looking desperate for a savior.
If Frankfurt are to fight off relegation this season, they will need the man who topped the Bundesliga's goal-scoring charts last season to not only find goals himself, but get the players around him singing to the same tune.