Crisis?! Hardly, but the numbers are in, and it’s time to make changes

It’s been 416 minutes since the last goal for someone wearing an emblem with Hennes on their shirt in a Bundesliga contest.

That is, unless you count Daniel Halfar’s own-goal from the Bayern match.

I do not count Daniel Halfar’s goal in the Bayern match.

“As far as us wanting to score goals, we have to improve. Therefore, we must consider how we will get more into the offensive part of the game and have, along with it, more players moving forward.”

Yes . . . improve . . . that word doesn’t quite capture what is needed, but you know how the coach is. He’s a master of understatement.

Through six matches, the Effzeh is credited (by Kicker) with two goals from 20 scoring opportunities. That’s a 10% conversion rate (Hey! Look at me! I can do math!) Only bottom-feeders Hamburger SV have been less effective, converting just the one of their 22 chances for a 4.5% rate. I could have rounded that up to 5%, I suppose, but it’s a little uglier when it is even lower than 5%, isn’t it?

Though, if you read that another way, it does say that the HSV have actually generated more chances than have our Kölners.

That ain’t good.

For the sake of contrast, the league leaders in this statistical category are Mainz (34.6%) and Schalke (34.5%).

This weekend’s opponent, Eintracht Frankfurt, is converting at a tidy 33.3% rate.

Then again, Frankfurt also has yet to face the almighty Effzeh defense.

There is little doubt that the return of Patrick Helmes will lend a boost to the scoring efforts, but there does seem to be plenty of doubt about when Helmes will actually be healthy again. Significant money was spent in the summer window to bring Simon Zoller and Yuya Osako into the fold to provide depth in attack, but neither has shown much effectiveness in the early go, which is at least part of the story in how the two newcomers found themselves watching the Bayern match from the tribune rather than the bench. It seems safe to say that Stöger is already working on a delineation of expectations for those two.

Yet, the solution cannot lie simply with the return of one player or the sudden emergence of another. Each of those can help, but there needs to be a vastly different approach to what happens in possession as the attack moves forward. Preferably, whatever changes are able to impact change can also do so without too much sacrifice on the defensive side, which is mostly to credit for the six points collected thus far. The long balls forward are not helping put Anthony Ujah in a position to be successful. He shows repeatedly he’s willing to fight, but hoping he will win balls in the air is not working. It’s time to move to a more-controlled build toward scoring chances with hold-up play, well-timed runs, and the occasional flash of individual quality to put a differend type of pressure on the opposition.

We are still far from a point where anyone should be pressing the panic button. Saturday’s match is not a must-win situation, though it’s certainly an opportunity to show more class and get some points. Next opponent is Borussia Dortmund, who will not be nearly as ordinary as their current table position hints they might be. The Effzeh could legitimately still be stuck on six points after tthe next two matches, even with marked improvement in attack. That would likely have us down in a relegation spot, at which point the fun with the media calling everything a “crisis” will really be fun.

But let’s not forget the mission. Fifteenth place is well-achievable without a juggernaut-like offensive attack.

Or, at  least it had better be . . .


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