bundesliga

Erling Haaland: Borussia Dortmund's world-class goal machine

Erling Haaland has scored 49 goals in 49 Bundesliga appearances across a wrecking-ball stint with Borussia Dortmund that shows no signs of waning.

In the time shorter than it takes most of us to eat our lunch, Haaland scored his first three Bundesliga goals. His 23-minute hat-trick on his debut against Augsburg on 18 January 2020 saw him shoot down Joel Pohjanpalo's relatively pedestrian half-hour record to collect his opening three strikes for Bayer Leverkusen with time to spare for dessert. He's been feasting ever since.

Watch: Haaland's route to Dortmund

Laughing in the face of postprandial somnolence, Haaland gobbled up back-to-back braces in wins over Cologne and Union Berlin, making him the first player to score seven times in his first three matches, eight in his opening five and nine in his maiden six games. The only surprise was that he did not find the back of the net in the ensuing 4-3 loss to Leverkusen, which was - ironically - the first full 90 minutes he played in the league.

Haaland struck a further six times before the season was out, ending the 2019/20 Rückrunde on 13 goals in 15 Bundesliga appearances - or one every 81.7 minutes. During the first half of the campaign, he had scored 14 goals in 16 Austrian Bundesliga matches for Red Bull Salzburg. His first full season of Bundesliga football continued on the same upward trajectory.

Watch: Haaland's goal-scoring secrets

Haaland finished third in the 2020/21 scoring charts - behind Robert Lewandowski (with a record-breaking 41) and Andre Silva (28) - on 27 goals in 28 Bundesliga appearances, but ranked second in terms of minutes-per-goal (89). He never went more than two games without scoring, and made history as the first U21 player to reach 40 career Bundesliga goals with his season-ending brace against Leverkusen.

It marked his 10th double of the league campaign. He only failed to fire more than once on three of the 14 occasions in which he was on target. The other one - at Hertha Berlin's Olympic Stadium - bore witness to four Haaland goals in the space of 32 second-half minutes.

Six appearances into 2021/22, Haaland's struck nine times - four doubles among them - at a clip of one every 64 minutes. A further four assists mean the August Player of the Month has had a direct hand in 13 of Dortmund's 22 league goals between Matchdays 1-8, despite missing the two through injury. That, incidentally, is a league-leading contribution at this stage in the campaign

Watch: Haaland's claimed his fourth Bundesliga Player of the Month prize in August 2021

Haaland's Bundesliga scoring spree has translated onto the UEFA Champions League stage, too. With a trademark brace against Sevilla in the 2020/21 last 16, he became the first player to score more than once in four consecutive Champions League outings, and the quickest to reach 20 goals - in just 14 appearances. Twenty-four games was the previous best-mark, held by Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane. Cristiano Ronaldo needed 56 matches.

Haaland also broke Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe's record for most Champions League goals before the age of 21, whilst surpassing Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - his former coach at Molde - as the highest-scoring Norwegian in the competition. No one has struck with such regularity since the 2020/21 edition's 10-goal leading marksman and UEFA Forward of the Season made his tournament debut for Salzburg in September 2019. He's one from one in the 2021/22 groups.

Haaland's DFB Cup record isn't too shabby, either. In six matches, he's helped himself to seven goals, including two in the 2020/21 final win over RB Leipzig. Throw in his one effort in two DFL Supercups, and that's 70 goals in 68 competitive outings for Die Schwarzgelben. At the same juncture in his BVB career, Lewandowski had scored 24 times - and was three years older.

"If he keeps working at it, Haaland can be the best striker in the world," said Lewandowski, who currently has that particular title under lock and key. "He's still young, but he's already scored a lot of goals. You can see it in his eyes how hungry he is to score goals. He's a huge talent."

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (l.) has traded goals with Haaland (r.) first-hand in Der Klassiker. - ANDREAS GEBERT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Understatement of the year. At 21, Haaland is a scorer of 131 senior goals in 176 appearances for club and country. No player has smashed through the 100-career-goals barrier on European soil at a younger age. In modern circles, only Neymar reached treble figures for goals sooner, albeit for Santos in Brazil.

A physical specimen combining the brute force of Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 and the speed of the T-1000 Advanced Prototype - Haaland has been clocked running a Bundesliga fifth-fastest 22.39 mph - the Haalandator will still only be 22 when the 2022 FIFA World Cup rolls around.

If he manages to replicate his Dortmund average of 1.01 goal per competitive game, we might just be talking about a Golden Boot winner - not to mention a future world's best striker.

Chris Mayer-Lodge