Radoslaw Majewski is out before he was even in, but it’s how the Wanderers respond to that setback that could determine whether the sleeping giant awakens.
“Western Sydney Wanderers FC today confirmed that Radoslaw Majewski has suffered a serious knee injury and will be sidelined for an indefinite period,” said the club in an official statement late yesterday.
“One of the Wanderers star signings for the new season was injured in training yesterday with scans showing suspected anterior cruciate and medial ligament injuries.”
The news of the Polish playmaker’s season-ending injury has the potential to derail Western Sydney’s campaign before it even begins. But it shouldn’t.
The Wanderers have all the ingredients in place to monster the A-League like never before – even without Majewski.
It would have been easy to sack coach Markus Babbel after the Wanderers missed the finals by 16 points and finished eighth last season, but it also would have been the wrong decision.
And lately chairman Paul Lederer and chief executive John Tsatsimas haven’t shown much inkling to make too many of those.
The club’s new centre of excellence isn’t just spectacular, it should also help the Wanderers produce a conveyer belt of talent for their various teams.
— WS Wanderers FC (@wswanderersfc) September 16, 2019
And retaining Babbel has helped the club tap into a line of bona fide Bundesliga stars.
Swiss midfielder Pirmin Schwegler should have no trouble adjusting to the A-League, but it’s Alexander Meier in attack fans should really be excited about.
No disrespect to the departed Oriol Riera, but Meier is a major step up in class.
The former Eintracht Frankfurt striker was one of the Bundesliga’s biggest stars and he would have scored more than his 93 top-flight goals if a couple of campaigns hadn’t been wrecked by niggling injuries.
And what should most excite Wanderers is the fact Meier can score goals from anywhere.
At nearly two metres tall, Meier has never had any problem winning aerial duels, yet the imposing striker has a surprisingly deft touch for a big man.
Most importantly, he’s got a killer eye for goal. The second A-League defences drop off is the second Meier will ping an unerring strike into the bottom corner.
He’s also played for two of German football’s genuine cult clubs in Eintracht Frankfurt and St Pauli, who play in front of capacity crowds every week irrespective of the division they’re in. So Meier won’t be fazed by running out at Bankwest Stadium; he’ll be inspired by it.
And Western Sydney’s jaw-dropping new home ground is their biggest weapon of all. It will only take Wanderers fans one visit to realise they play in the best stadium the A-League has ever seen.
They’ve been a fan base with more excuses than a first-year Arts student these past few of seasons, but the buck stops here.
If Wanderers fans don’t pack Bankwest Stadium for their Round 1 clash with the Central Coast Mariners, it will simply mean they’re happy to live in the shadow of NRL side Parramatta Eels.
But there’s no reason to suspect that will be the case.
What’s more likely is that after years of playing second fiddle to Sydney FC, the Wanderers will suddenly start to dwarf the Sky Blues.
The centre of excellence. The Bundesliga talent. The stadium. It’s all coming into place in Western Sydney.
It’s just a shame that A-League fans have been robbed of the chance to see not only Majewski in action but also Newcastle Jets star signing Wes Hoolahan.
One of the many side effects of the salary cap is that teams invariably struggle to replace key players who go down injured. But that shouldn’t prevent the Wanderers from becoming genuine contenders this season.
And if you put your ear to the ground around O’Connell Street, you may just hear the sound of a sleeping giant awakening.