Haaland reunion set to fill Dortmund defense with dread

Manchester City’s Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring their first goal in a 4-0 Champions League loss to Sevilla on September 6. [Photo/Agencies]

Borussia Dortmund know Erling Haaland’s ability to destroy defenses in the Champions League all too well, but the German club could die by the sword they experienced before when visiting Manchester City on Wednesday.

Haaland became one of the world’s most feared strikers during two and a half years in Germany, scoring 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund.

Eight games into his City career, the devastatingly fast Norwegian giant striker has already scored 12 times for the English champions.

“His numbers throughout his career, not just here but when he was in previous teams, are quite similar,” City boss Pep Guardiola said after Haaland netted twice in a 4-0 win in Sevilla to kick off City’s latest quest to win their maiden Champions League title.

“He has an incredible sense of goal.”

Haaland’s €60m ($61m) buyout clause meant he had a choice of clubs after growing out of his surroundings in the Bundesliga.

Dortmund may be the perfect breeding ground for Europe’s top talent to grow in the early years of their careers, but they cannot financially compete with the continent’s wealthiest clubs, nor satisfy the long-term ambitions of the world’s best players. .

Haaland followed in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho, Christian Pulisic, Ousmane Dembele, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Robert Lewandowski and Mario Goetze as stars of the future to steal the nest after briefly leaving their mark in western Germany.

However, losing Haaland could prove to be the biggest loss of all, with the 22-year-old threatening to rewrite the records set by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi which many believe would remain untouched for generations.

Haaland’s brace against Sevilla took his Champions League tally to 25 goals in 20 games.

At the same stage of their careers, Ronaldo, the competition’s all-time top scorer with 140, had yet to score, while Messi netted eight times in his first 20 appearances in the elite club competition. European.

“I love the Champions League. I have to say this, it’s a big dream for me,” Haaland told Telemundo Deportes this week as he revealed the competition’s anthem is his phone ringtone.

“When I wake up every morning I listen to this song. It’s my favorite competition.”

Haaland’s Champions League run was also the reason City were so desperate to sign him as the successor to the club’s all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero.

Under Guardiola, City have won four Premier League titles in the past five years and six in total in the past decade.

Yet the billions invested in the Abu Dhabi club since 2008 are so far insufficient to win the Champions League.

Over the past two seasons he has come excruciatingly close, losing his first-ever final against Chelsea in 2021 before losing a two-goal lead in stoppage time to his semi-final against the eventual winner. of Real Madrid in May.

Any doubts that the signing of a superstar could destabilize the collective effort that characterized City’s success under Guardiola were swept away within weeks.

“This guy is going to break virtually every goalscoring record that exists,” tweeted former England striker Michael Owen.

“He’s too big, too fast, clinical in front of goal and he plays in a team that creates dozens of chances.”

Dortmund know what is coming. Stopping the momentum of the mountain man he once called his own is another matter.

AFP

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