Axel Witsel (l.) has been overwhelmed by the start Erling Haaland (r.) has made to his Borussia Dortmund career. - © imago images
Axel Witsel (l.) has been overwhelmed by the start Erling Haaland (r.) has made to his Borussia Dortmund career. - © imago images
bundesliga

"Not since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang" - Axel Witsel lavishes praise on Erling Haaland

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel says the club needed a striker like Erling Haaland after the Norwegian's two-goal haul against Cologne took him up to five goals inside his first hour of play for the club.

Haaland is yet to start for Dortmund since swapping Red Bull Salzburg for the Signal Iduna Park at the beginning of the January transfer window, but he has made an incredible impression as a substitute.

After scoring a hat-trick off the bench to help BVB rescue a 5-3 win at Augsburg last Saturday, Haaland added another two to his haul on Friday, helping lift Die Schwarzgelben to a provisional third in a 5-1 win at home to Cologne.

Watch: Haaland's Man of the Matchday performance against Augsburg

"It's crazy," Witsel told bundesliga.com after the game. "To come on in the first game and score three goals, that hasn't happened since [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang. We needed a stronger striker, and the club did really good on this one. We're all happy he's here."

Haaland's fifth goal for Dortmund and second against Cologne was perhaps the pick of the bunch. The 19-year-old sprinted to get to a through-ball ahead of Timo Horn and then, from a nearly impossible angle, steered the ball home. He was off celebrating before the ball hit the back of the net.

"I asked him how he did it and he just told me, 'I don't know, I had the feeling!'," laughed Witsel. "For his age he's really strong. He's tall, he's big, he has a lot of quality. He can keep the ball. For a big guy he's quite technical and in front of goal he's a killer. I hope he'll keep scoring like this for the next game."

Dortmund are next in action at home to Union Berlin on Saturday. Whether or not Haaland starts remains to be seen, but he has done his chances little harm. The capital club will be on high alert either way.