The only way is up for Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland, Matchday 5's Man of the Matchday. - © Matthias Hangst / Staff
The only way is up for Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland, Matchday 5's Man of the Matchday. - © Matthias Hangst / Staff
bundesliga

Erling Haaland: Matchday 5's Man of the Matchday heading to the very top

With 68 goals in just 67 competitive games for Borussia Dortmund, Erling Haaland is penning a remarkable chapter in the Westphalian club's history – and it just gets better and better.

On Sunday, the 21-year-old became the youngest player ever to reach 47 Bundesliga goals, doing so on his 48th appearance in Germany's top flight, as he raised his tally for the current season to seven – the same as Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.

Including goals in the DFB Cup and Europe, the Norwegian is already in double digits with 11 in just eight outings. Little wonder, then, that Dortmund scored for a 37th consecutive Bundesliga game – the third-longest such run in the league's history.

Watch: Haaland's Matchday 5 brace against Union Berlin

Yet in his first 18 months as a Dortmund player, Haaland's remarkable goalscoring statistics obscured the fact that only two of those first 40 Bundesliga goals actually came with his head. For a 6'4" predatory giant, that could be perhaps the only aspect of his otherwise outstanding all-round game which could come in for criticism.

Against Union, Haaland showed a new aerial strength to double Dortmund's lead with already his second headed goal of the season. Nitpickers will now need to dig even deeper to find a fault in the Norwegian's game.

"Did he really score a header today?" said Mats Hummels when asked about Haaland's latest party piece. His surprise was only for the cameras, since the German defender knows better than anybody how much Haaland has been working hard on his weaknesses. "He's been practising a lot," continued the 32-year-old to DAZN. "He's got so many strengths, now he's also working on his weaknesses.

"When he came to Dortmund from Salzburg, his aerial game was pretty bad. [Former head coach] Edin [Terzic], Erling and I spent a lot of time practising crosses, over and over again, and now you can see where that gets you.

"He's definitely going to get ten more goals a season because of the fact he's improved his aerial game. He's just a goalscoring machine."

Haaland underlined precisely that with his second goal as he chased down Hummels' long ball forward and hooked a sublime lob over Andreas Luthe with his outstretched left foot.

"Whenever he sees a chance to put the ball in the back of the net, his eyes light up," Hummels said. "He's going to be one of the best forwards in the world for the next 15 years."

He already is. And having now added an imposing aerial threat to his razor-sharp armoury, Haaland is continuing that rapid rise to becoming the complete all-round striker.