bundesliga

Erling Haaland: Man City's world-class goal machine, made in the Bundesliga

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Manchester City newcomer Erling Haaland scored 62 goals in 67 Bundesliga appearances across a wrecking-ball stint with Borussia Dortmund.

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.

Despite missing 16 matches of 2021/22 through injury, Haaland concluded the campaign with 29 goals in 30 appearances, including 22 in 24 league matches. The August Player of the Month became the youngest and quickest player to reach 50 Bundesliga goals on Matchday 13, doing so in as many games, and registered a league-high eight braces. Fittingly, he struck from the penalty spot in his final game for Dortmund, in front of the BVB supporters.

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

"It has been nothing but an honour to wear this shirt," he wrote on social media afterwards. "At @BVB, I've spent memorable moments, met special people, not to mention a fanbase that has been always our extra man on the pitch. The Yellow Wall is truly incredible. I'll never forget any of this! Thank you all!"

Haaland's Bundesliga scoring spree translated onto the UEFA Champions League stage. 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. After closing out the 2020/21 edition as the tournament's 10-goal leading marksman and UEFA Forward of the Season, he swelled his overall tally to 23 goals in 19 games with three strikes in the 2021/22 groups, and joins City as the head of the minutes-per-goal table (64).

Haaland's DFB Cup record isn't too shabby, either. In eight matches, he helped himself to eight goals, including two in the 2020/21 final win over RB Leipzig. Throw in his one effort in two DFL Supercups, and that's 86 goals in 89 competitive outings for Die Schwarzgelben. At the same juncture in his BVB career, Lewandowski had scored 39 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.) 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 155 senior goals in 203 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 has 20 goals to show for his first 21 caps for his country.

If he manages to continue replicating his Dortmund average of nearly a goal every game (0.97) for City and Norway, we might just be talking about a Golden Boot winner in the making - not to mention a future world's best striker.

Chris Mayer-Lodge