Erling Haaland goes to Man City, leaves Borussia Dortmund with only memories | Sports | German football and major international sports news | DW

Erling Haaland’s home debut was a momentous occasion; an entire stadium leaning in to catch a glimpse of a teenage superstar in the making.

Borussia Dortmund’s opponents that Friday night two and a half years ago were Cologne, and of course Haaland scored twice – both in front of the home fans’ stronghold, the South tribune — the second from a seemingly impossible angle.

His home debut had followed a sensational maiden hat-trick at Augsburg six days earlier, scored within 23 minutes of coming off the bench. He scored two more in his third game against Union Berlin, heading into the Bundesliga with seven goals in less than two hours of football.

Haaland’s best performances at Dortmund

Haaland’s unconventional build, sense of timing and relentless goalscoring prowess were simply too much for Bundesliga defenses to handle. His black-and-yellow numbers were simply staggering: 86 goals in 89 appearances in all competitions during his three seasons in Germany.

But can it do even better? According to the man himself, there is no doubt: “I can make everything better”, he said sky sports in January 2022. “I can improve my finishing a lot, I can get faster, I can get stronger.”

It’s a scary thought, given that when injuries didn’t hold him back – he’s missed 16 games this season due to injury, including a persistent hip problem – he became unplayable.

It’s when the spotlight shines brightest that this great player has had the most impact. His double against PSG in 2020 raised the roof at Westfalenstadion as he announced himself on the biggest stage with a searing performance against a European heavyweight in the Champions League.

Haaland’s home and away heroics against Sevilla also helped Dortmund qualify for the quarter-finals in 2020-21.

And in the 2021 German Cup final, he and Jadon Sancho scored twice apiece against RB Leipzig, bringing major silverware to the club for the first time in four years. It was one of the last times Haaland and Sancho played together, with the pair so effective in black and yellow but now on opposite sides of the blue and red division in Manchester.

In just over two years, Haaland went from ‘the next big thing’ to full-on striker at the age of 21, proving his talent beyond doubt. Unfortunately for Dortmund, it has overtaken them – and even the Bundesliga – on pace.

“The initial emotion for Dortmund fans is relief, given that this has become a transfer saga,” Stefan Buczko, presenter of the Yellowwallpod podcast, told DW. “If Haaland had said six months ago that he would go, they would have agreed. But it dragged on endlessly.

“Haaland’s release clause meant there was never an emotional edge. There was never really any football romance involved in this thing,” Buczko added.

Haaland returns home

What was long suspected was finally confirmed on Monday when Manchester City officially announced they had signed the 21-year-old on a four-year deal, paying the €75m buyout clause in his contract with Borussia. Dortmund.

“I was born in England,” Haaland said in a statement, referring to the fact that he was born in Leeds in 2000 when his father played for Leeds United, before moving to City for three seasons.

“I’ve been a City fan all my life and I know a lot about the club,” said Haaland junior. “At the end, [there were] two things. I feel at home here and I feel I can develop and get the most out of my game at City. i like the style [of play]. I like attacking football. I like the positive vibe we have when City play football. That’s what I really like, so I think it’s a good fit.

“We’ve been watching Erling for a number of years now, so we’re delighted to bring him here to Manchester City,” said the club’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain.

“He’s a huge talent and he’s been one of the best strikers in Europe in recent seasons. His goalscoring record is outstanding and his performances at Borussia Dortmund and the Champions League in particular have proven he can to succeed at the highest level. Erling has everything we expect in a striker, and we are sure he will excel in this team and in this system.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker called Haaland’s signing a “watershed moment for the Premier League”, saying on Twitter: “The first time a young superstar, sought after by all, has come to an English club against the Spanish giants “.

Erling Haaland plays for Borussia Dortmund

Erling Haaland has scored almost a goal per game in the Bundesliga

Haaland’s future mapped out

Tragically, the man largely responsible for charting Haaland’s career path is no longer around to see his work come to fruition.

Mino Raiola, Haaland’s agent, carefully planned his client’s rise from RB Salzburg at the big time with wisely placed buyout clauses – and sizeable commissions – but recently died after a serious illness.

Now, without his agent to guide him, Haaland will have to adapt to a new system.

He will play under Pep Guardiola, who is renowned for his dislike of forwards, often preferring a smaller attacking midfielder – Phil Foden or Bernardo Silva, for example – to operate at the top of his team. It’s for this reason that City’s top scorer Sergio Aguero never quite fit Guardiola’s plan.

Haaland, however, is younger and a player who offers something every manager desires: a boat full of goals. For City, he might just be the signing that makes them unstoppable. Dortmund, meanwhile, are left with only the memories and the challenge of another crucial rebuild. But replacing Haaland will surely be impossible.

Edited by: Matt Ford

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Post expires at 2:34am on Saturday June 25th, 2022