Erling Haaland: Borussia Dortmund’s Secret Weapon
Currently in 4th, Dortmund is making moves to win the Bundesliga title after nearly a decade of drought.
With the way Erling Haaland is performing in the German Bundesliga, it should come as no surprise then that his move from Austrian club Salzburg was a successful one. At just 19-years-old, he has scored eight goals in six UEFA Champions League matches this season. His teammate, Robert Lewandowski, is ahead in this record with 10 goals. Everyone knew he was skilled when it came to playing the game, but no one expected him to achieve a scoring rate of a goal per 12 minutes. In his debut for the club, he scored a hat-trick against Augsburg in 20 minutes. He then followed this up by scoring twice in their 5-1 win against Cologne.
He achieved all this despite not being a starter, so just imagine the havoc he could cause on his opponents if he gets to play for the majority of a match. More than scoring though, he brings so much more to the table.
Dortmund would have signed Haaland anyway, but a loss to Hoffenheim and a draw to RB Leipzig further necessitated the move. At that point, they were seven points away from league leaders Leipzig and their go-to striker last season, Paco Alcacer, was only able to make six starts for the team. Before the winter break ended, Dortmund had beaten the competition and was able to sign one of the most hyped players in all of Europe.
‘We can expect an ambitious, athletic and physical centre forward with a proven nose for goal’, said Michael Zorc, the club’s sporting director. In the first two matches that Haaland played in, the club scored 10 goals. It was then that they realized that Haaland was indeed the right man for the job - and more. He was like an adrenaline shot when you needed it the most, and Leipzig and Bayern Munich were starting to take notice - Dortmund is back in the title race.
The wave of optimism that had washed over the club when they heard that Haaland was going to be part of the team seemed to be drying up when Dortmund found themselves down 3-1 at Augsburg, their first match after the winter break. Then Haaland was actually introduced. After just three minutes of being on the pitch, he scored his first goal. In the end, Dortmund won that match 5-3 with Haaland scoring two more goals. A week later, he scored another two goals.
‘Erling’s goal to make it 4-1 decided the game once and for all’, said Lucien Favre, the club’s head coach. ‘He’s unstoppable. He constantly wants to train and to win. It’s fantastic for a coach to have a player like that at your disposal’. As quick as he is with his feet, he’s just as deadly when it comes to coming with plays on the fly, proving to be a threat to all times to their opponents’ defence. ‘When my Dad and I decided upon this club, we were looking at all the players who could play me through on goal’, said Haaland in an interview. ‘And you can see that today – there’s an extreme amount of quality within this side. After only a couple of minutes on the pitch I got a perfect pass from Jadon. And then there’s guys like Hazard and Reus, who are extremely good players’.
Words: Carlos Corpus