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Erling Haaland: The Bundesliga Continues To Shrink

Germany loses one of its last world-class kickers, BVB degenerates into a training club. And does the giant match City? The most important thing about the Haaland transfer.

Who is this Erling Haaland again?

On January 18, 2020, BVB new signing Erling Haaland came on for the first time in the 56th minute against FC Augsburg. The Norwegian was 19 years young. He scored three times in 20 minutes. From that day on, everyone knew: Erling Haaland is something special, an elemental power of a striker.

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A player who has what it takes to define an era. Haaland makes physics lessons tangible: Force is mass times acceleration. He was so fast he seemed to overtake himself at times. Haaland broke record after record. In the end he scored 85 times in 88 games for Dortmund. With quite a few of these goals, the goalkeepers didn't even get their arms stretched up, so quickly the ball was in the net.

What does the move mean for him?

He could finally win titles. Manchester City is about to win the next English championship, and the team financed from Abu Dhabi is always the favorite in the Champions League. It has never worked out there with a title, maybe now, with Haaland. He will also notice the change in his wallet. 

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We're talking about 30 million euros a year. And most importantly, the Norwegian has a good chance of becoming a better football player. That happens automatically when you work with Pep Guardiola. Haaland is still unpolished, he can get even better. Above all, his dribbling and his header game have potential.

What does the change mean for BVB?

He fills the coffers. In the ad hoc announcement on the forthcoming change, which is mandatory for stock corporations, BVB announced: "With the realization of this transfer business, the management expects a positive effect on the key earnings figures (EBITDA, EBIT) for the 2022/2023 financial year in the order of approx. EUR 35.0 million - EUR 40.0 million." According to media reports, there was an exit clause that became active at 60 million euros. But: The purpose of a football club is not to optimize results, but to win games. And that won't be any easier without Haaland.

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In fact, BVB is once again showing itself to be the finest instantaneous water heater in European football. After Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembélé, Jadon Sancho and Christian Pulisic, the next one is moving from a one-b club in Dortmund to a one-a-club. The Borussia as a springboard for higher tasks. What is new is that in the case of Haaland, that seemed certain from the start and those responsible did not even try to give the impression that they could keep Haaland. This strategy may pay off financially for BVB (especially since he probably has no other choice). With the sales gain, the team can be strengthened across the board, in Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck two new ones have been signed for the defense and on the day Haaland said goodbye it became known that that the 20-year-old national player Karim Adeyemi will strengthen the offensive. Only: Players like Jude Bellingham, who would like to win something with Dortmund, will ask themselves how much longer it makes sense to stay with a team that has to let their best players move on every year. A team that grows together and could become a threat to Bayern can hardly be created with this strategy.

What are the fans saying?

Haaland was respected by BVB fans but never worshiped. He came across as too cold and calculating, the blond careerist, his big plan too foreseeable. That wasn't enough for real love. Many supporters have long been annoyed by the rumors of change and are now relieved instead of sad.

What does the move mean for the Bundesliga?

She loses one of her biggest stars. Haaland's departure will further shrink the Bundesliga compared to the leagues in England and Spain. The big stars don't play in Germany. The only remaining world-class international kicker is 33-year-old Robert Lewandowski (and he's said to be leaving too). There are no longer any Bundesliga footballers among the ten most valuable players in the world. The stadiums may be full, the atmosphere good, but the best sport is elsewhere.

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It is significant that even the long-term champion and Croesus from Munich had to dismiss the dimensions of the Haaland transfer. With such amounts, Bayern are out. The Bundesliga cannot go along with the excesses of clubs financed by oil states, which means that a Champions League title is no longer likely.

Does Haaland fit City at all?

At first glance, the giant is not a Guardiola player. The Catalan likes to surround himself with so many small, hooking players that he introduced the football world to the phenomenon of the false nine: a line-up without a classic centre-forward, i.e. the renunciation of exactly the position that Haaland plays. At Barcelona he sent away first Samuel Eto'o and a year later Zlatan Ibrahimović for various reasons. 

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But Guardiola can also play with real nines, just ask Robert Lewandowski. At City, since the departure of Sergio Aguero, he simply has not had a player who could fill this role. And at the latest the lame end against Real Madrid in the Champions League shows that City needs a punch when things get uncomfortable.

But doubts remain as to whether Haaland's strength, the long sprint forward, can be used at all in City, because their opponents often entrench themselves in their own penalty area and don't even offer the space for it. And in order to reliably use crosses or balls that fall in front of his feet, Haaland still has to work on technique and header play. The biggest risk, however, is his susceptibility to injury. This season alone, Haaland missed ten Bundesliga games and only played three times in the European Cup. Muscular problems, the hip flexors, for a 21-year-old this kind of injury is rather unusual, for some it is worrying.

Incidentally, Haaland's father Alf-Inge also played for Manchester City for three years. In the end he dismounted. At least that will almost certainly not happen to Erling.

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