Erling Haaland has reached another level, putting in a ‘near perfect’ striking display – and Borussia Dortmund already have his replacement lined up…
It has reached the point now where, if Erling Haaland plays a game and doesn’t score a goal, everyone almost feels let down.
Haaland is now that good, following up his extraordinary performance and four goals against Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga last weekend, with another couple in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-0 Champions League win over Club Brugge.
You have to go back over a month for a game in which Haaland didn’t score, and in the intervening seven games he has 12 goals. These are cartoon numbers, as Raphael Honigstein pointed out on The Totally Football Show’s European edition this week:
“Haaland is now seemingly going to another level, and this is now becoming the Erling Haaland team. Which considering he’s only been with them since January, shows you how he has developed.
“Christoph Biermann was saying on the Steilcast pod that maybe in Haaland, Dortmund have now found the replacement for Robert Lewandowski, in the sense that there’s a guy who through sheer force of nature can push Dortmund over the line.
“Bayern look vulnerable, certainly more so than usual, so maybe Haaland can do it. It will be great for the league, and of course for Haaland and Dortmund.”
In a flamboyant departure from his remit, James Horncastle chipped in to gush about Haaland:
“It was astonishing, the speed he showed to pounce on a mistake by a Hertha defender and completely punish him, his movement was out of this world, and for such a big guy, his link-up play – back to goal, in tight spaces, playing backheels and all this sort of thing – it was unreal how good he was.
“That second-half display was as near to a perfect striker display as you could possibly ask for. It was jaw-dropping.”
The good news for Bundesliga defences is that Haaland might not stay at Dortmund for much longer, such is their general M.O. The bad news is there’s already a replacement waiting in the wings.
You’ll want to remember the name Youssoufa Moukoko, because by the sound of things he’s the next great star of German football. Aged just 16, he made his Bundesliga debut against Hertha, coming off the bench to replace Haaland.
Why is he playing senior football at such a young age? Because he’s already far too good for youth games, it seems.
“He’s so young and has been so prolific at youth level,” said Rafa. “He scored 141 in 88 games at youth level. This is a guy who since moving up to the seniors, has not looked out of place at all. Of course he’s still learning – some of the tactical behaviour is still a bit raw and his decision-making needs to improve – but everyone just feels he’s ready to play.
“The club are trying to dampen down the excitement, but Favre looks at the player and doesn’t care about the headlines and age discussion, sees he’s ready and just puts him in.
“I spoke to someone who has watched him a lot, and they said it’s pointless watching those youth team games. Whatever the opposite of being out of your depth is: it’s like everyone else is out of their depth compared to him. He plays football on a completely different level, and there was no point in keeping him with the under-19s.”
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