bundesliga

Erling Haaland: Matchday 1's Man of the Matchday and Borussia Dortmund's apex-predator taker and maker

Erling Haaland has had a direct hand in 80 goals in 61 competitive appearances for Borussia Dortmund, including 56 in 44 Bundesliga games. Just allow that to sink in for a moment...

To be precise, Haaland has scored 62 and set up 18 across 5,007 minutes of senior football in a Dortmund shirt. In 3,563 minutes of Bundesliga football, the 21-year-old's average goal contribution comes in at 1.33 per game. Two competitive matches into 2021/22, he's already produced five goals and two assists.

"Erling is an unbelievable team player," commented recently installed Dortmund head coach Marco Rose, after Haaland's two-goal-two-assist salvo in the 5-2 rout of Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

"He deserved that today. When he plays like that, he's allowed to celebrate a bit more than usual."

Watch: The Erling Haaland show - in 60 seconds!

Haaland must be in constant party mode.

He ended the previous campaign on 27 Bundesliga goals, furnishing his tally with a 10th season brace in the final-day win over Bayer Leverkusen. The previous fortnight another trademark double had helped Dortmund beat RB Leipzig 4-1 in the DFB Cup final.

Haaland enjoyed a fleeting summer break, taking in destinations such as the Monaco Grand Prix, where he witnessed Red Bull's Max Verstappen take pole.

The way the former Molde and Red Bull Salzburg goal machine has started the new season suggests he'll be the one popping champagne on the Bundesliga scorer's, and potentially provider's, podium by the end of it.

"He's so important for the team with his goals, his assists," commented Gio Reyna, who put away Dortmund's fourth against Frankfurt via a deflected Haaland shot.

"He's hungry, he's a team player, so we're happy to have him. Hopefully this is just the start for him."

Watch: Gio Reyna talks to bundesliga.com about Haaland

Jens Petter Hauge shares Reyna's enthusiasm for the most prolific - and quickest - player on the pitch at the Signal Iduna Park.

Despite scoring a Bundesliga debut - albeit consolation - goal from the Frankfurt bench, Hauge did not begrudge his Norway teammate his moment in the spotlight.

"He's one of the best players in the world, and has shown that for the last two seasons," the AC Milan loanee told bundesliga.com.

"He does it every week, so I'm not even surprised anymore, and I don't think you are either."

Watch: Jens Petter Hauge talks up Haaland

To be quite honest, Jens, we're not. Not in the slightest.

Haaland scored a 24-minute hat-trick against lower-league Wehen Wiesbaden in the DFB Cup first round in Dortmund's first competitive outing under Rose a week ago. Only Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp denied the BVB No.9 a second successive Dreier on Bundesliga Matchday 1.

Not that a 16th German top-flight brace across 23 league games involving at least one Haaland goal is to be scoffed at. Neither is his record-equalling haul of 42 goals in 44 matches. Hamburg legend Uwe Seeler is the only player to have found the back of the net with such regularity since the creation of the Bundesliga in 1963.

For reference, the Bundesliga's all-time leading non-German marksman Robert Lewandowski, now of Bayern Munich, was 86 league matches into his Dortmund career when he reached the same number, aged 24. He was 27 when he first broke the 25-goal barrier for single-season Bundesliga goals.

Haaland did so in his first full season of Bundesliga football, and is still five years off a striker's perceived peak age bracket (26-31) at the onset of his second.

Robert Lewandowski and Haaland (l-r.) face off in the 2021 Supercup on 17 August. - ANDREAS GEBERT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

"Erling can do it as a target man, or you can play him in from deep because of his pace," said Dortmund captain Marco Reus, the gleeful recipient of a Haaland assist against Frankfurt, and former club-mate of Lewandowski.

"We have to be careful not to praise him too much, but he is already the complete package."

Chris Mayer-Lodge