Erling Haaland cannot wait for the Bundesliga to get underway again, with Borussia Dortmund facing Schalke in the Revierderby. - © imago
Erling Haaland cannot wait for the Bundesliga to get underway again, with Borussia Dortmund facing Schalke in the Revierderby. - © imago
bundesliga

Erling Haaland: Borussia Dortmund's natural goalscorer ready for Revierderby return

Bundesliga fans may only have had a handful of months to admire Erling Haaland, but the mere glimpse they were granted was enough to understand the extent of the Norwegian forward's talent.

Put a ball at Haaland's feet and more often than not, he will have the net rippling – in an instant. "My focus is not about the hype, or this or that, my focus is about doing," said the 19-year-old on Borussia Dortmund's YouTube channel, emphasising how nothing comes more naturally and instinctively to him than scoring goals.

With nine goals from his first eight Bundesliga outings – including five in his first 56 minutes in a BVB shirt – the league suspension interrupted one of the most purple of all patches, but Haaland will be out to prove, when the league recommences this weekend, that he can keep delivering the goods on a regular basis.

"It was fantastic to finally get the confirmation [of the league restart]; to have the green light to start up again. It's fantastic," Haaland said. "I'm looking forward to my first derby and I can't wait to play it. I've played in some derbies before, but nothing like this derby.”

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While acknowledging it will not feel like a true derby, without the roar of 81,000 fans in Signal Iduna Park, he says Dortmund owe it to their hundreds of thousands of fans to put on a performance they can be proud of, and pick up some necessary points to keep their title challenge on track.

BVB trail league leaders Bayern Munich by four points with nine games of the season remaining, but the pack has been reshuffled over the 66-day hiatus and Haaland senses a huge opportunity lies in wait.

"Everything can happen," he said. "It's nine games and we have to be ready against Schalke. We have to be ready because we need the points and we need to stay sharp. We're capable of everything, we know we're a good team with a lot of good players, so the sky's the limit."

Staying sharp has been difficult for everybody during the enforced break, but Haaland insists he had been keeping himself in shape at home before team training was permitted once again last week, and he says he will be ready this Saturday.

"I need both [killer instinct and training]," he said. "Of course, team training is important to train your fitness, your touch and also your relationship with the other players. But I've been training hard during this time without being in training, so I'm not worried.

"It's been a good start for me here in Dortmund and that’s what my focus is, to try to get better every day to look into the details of how I can get better every day and to stay sharp."

Watch: from Bryne to the Bundesliga - the making of Erling Haaland

Haaland will not be the only Dortmund player looking to stay sharp and confirm his pre-break performances when the action gets up and running again. Gio Reyna was sniffing around for more minutes in February and early March, and the US starlet's opportunity could be about to knock.

"He's a humble, hard-working guy from the States," Haaland said of his fellow teenager. "As I know him better now, he's a nice guy and he's young, of course, so he has a lot to learn like me. We both have a lot to learn, but he's a good guy and he's also so calm when he plays football, it's quite amazing for his age."