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Borussia Dortmund has been known this past decade as one of the best second-tier clubs in club football. They reached the UEFA Champions League Final under current-Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in 2013 with stars such as striker Robert Lewandowski (who scored four goals in the Champions League Semifinals against Real Madrid), center back Mats Hummels, midfielder Shinji Kagawa and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. They are known for developing stars and having European and Bundesliga success with them. Once they reach stardom and have success, those players will be bought by the top clubs such as Manchester City, rival and German giants Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Manchester United.
19-year-old Norwegian striker Erling Haaland is already on track to become the next star in this cycle. Halaand played for Norwegian team Molde and won the Eliteserien Breakthrough of the Year award by scoring 16 goals in 30 games as an 18-year-old. However, it wasn’t until the UEFA Champions League Group Stage this year where he broke out onto the world scene. Haaland for Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg scored a hat-trick in his first game in a 6-2 when over Genk. He would score in the next game against Liverpool and Napoli to become the first teenager since Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema to score in his first three UCL apperances. Haaland would go on to score in the next two matches as well, finishing the group stage with seven goals in six games. He is one of six players in UCL history to score a goal in five straight matches. As a result, he has garnered a lot of attention from upper-level clubs.
Manchester United was keen on signing the young Norwegian star but ended up heading to Dortmund for a fee of 20 million euros. In his first game as a Dortmund player, he was subbed on in the 56th minute while Dortmund was trailing at FC Augsburg 3-1. Haaland proceeded to score a hat-trick in 23 minutes and led Dortmund to a 5-3 win. Haaland had the best debut he could have had for Dortmund and combined with attackers Marco Reus and Jaden Sancho, Dortmund looks to be formidable as they head into the Champions League Round of 16. They also sit seven points behind RP Leipzig in the Bundesliga title race.
Haaland is the next star young forward for Dortmund after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left for Arsenal after scoring 98 goals in five years. Haaland reminds me of star French striker Karim Benzema as both have a knack for being in the right place as the right time on the attack and both have great finishing ability with their left foot. What’s encouraging is that Haaland has already scored at the big stage in the UCL. Scoring five straight UCL games shows me that he doesn’t let the stage affect him and that he is very confident. While he was a little overconfident by predicting he would knock Liverpool out of the UCL, I love the confidence in a 19-year-old in a stage such as the UCL.
Dortmund loves developing attacking players and making them big time and Haaland is the next player for them to help make a star that will be sold to a larger club for a large sum of money within a couple years. Dortmund will push to have success this season with Haaland but their true success will be how much they can sell him for as they develop his talents.