Alexander Baumjohann's future with Western Sydney won't be determined until the end of the A-League season – but the signs aren't good after the star midfielder's derby substitution.
Baumjohann admitted he was "surprised" to have been taken off in the second half of Saturday night's 1-1 draw with Sydney FC, 13 minutes after scoring the equalising goal and just as it seemed the contest was starting to open up.
It was another chapter in the 32-year-old's complicated relationship with coach Markus Babbel, who brought him to the club, but is sending mixed signals about whether he prizes him enough to keep him on for another season.
Babbel dropped Baumjohann last month because he was unhappy with his output at training, sacrificed him during the last Sydney derby when the Wanderers were reduced to 10 men after a red card to goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic, and again took him off at ANZ Stadium when the match appeared to be there for the taking.
Baumjohann said he was fully fit and could have played out the game.
"I was surprised because I felt good, we just scored the 1-1 and had lots of space and opportunities," he said. "We wanted to win the game so I was a little bit surprised that he put me off but it's his decision and he has to make it."
His goal, a deflected free kick, came after the German contributed two assists in Western Sydney's previous two games. He has only three goals and three assists in total for the season but is ranked fifth overall (44) for chances created. The players above him have all played five or more matches this season.
Baumjohann said he was largely pleased with his campaign to date.
"[I had] bad luck with the injury, but when I was fit and I was playing I think it was not bad. In the first half of the season I created lots of chances but we didn't score … I'm in top form now and hopefully I can play the last two games – maybe 90 minutes."
His agent, Jurgen Milewski, will fly into Sydney once the season is finished to assess his options. In an interview with website Transfermarkt last week, Baumjohann said he was pleased with life in SydRead More – Source