Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland has been named the Bundesliga's January Player of the Month. The award, created by the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga in cooperation with the Bundesliga’s official licensing partner, EA SPORTS FIFA 20, is decided through a two-stage selection process that considers both the players' individual performance data and a vote by fans and experts.
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
He came, he saw, and he scored like few before him. Erling Haaland has certainly made a lasting first impression in the Bundesliga. The 19-year-old Norwegian has quickly justified what some may have seen as premature praise following his move from Red Bull Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund. He came off the bench for his debut against FC Augsburg and scored a hat-trick to help BVB turn things around for a 5-3 win. His second appearance a week later also came as a substitute at home to 1. FC Köln, this time bagging himself a brace. “It’s a real shame he’s slacking. Three goals, then two – I hope it’s not one next time,” goalkeeper Roman Bürki joked after the 5-1 win over the Billy Goats.
Haaland’s remarkable maiden month in the Bundesliga can be summed up with two numbers: 56 minutes, five goals. No player has ever reached that total quicker in the Bundesliga, with the teenager displacing his teammate Paco Alcacer at the top of those standings after he netted five in 72 minutes. “He’s unstoppable. It’s fantastic as a coach to have a player like that,” said Dortmund boss Lucien Favre in praise of his new striker, who has already showed what he’s about in just a few minutes in Black-and-Yellow. “Absolutely fantastic,” the 19-year-old enthused after his successful home debut and celebrating with the fans in the Yellow Wall. “It’s what you dream of as a child.”
The other nominees
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Jadon Sancho was once again unstoppable in January as the Borussia Dortmund winger continued his remarkable rise with two goals and two assists across both Bundesliga games. His eye-catching displays in the 5-3 and 5-1 wins over FC Augsburg and 1. FC Köln respectively made the 19-year-old England international the first player in Europe’s top five leagues this season to reach double figures for both goals and assists, and he now has 11 apiece. His form in front of the opposition net has been particularly outstanding with eight goals in his last eight games, including one in each of the two in January.
In terms of assists, Sancho is in hot pursuit of the league’s leading provider, Thomas Müller, who has set up 12 goals. And the FC Bayern München man has been full of praise for his Dortmund rival. “Sancho is super,” Müller said in an interview with Sportbuzzer. “He uses his technique, speed and dribbling ability to create dangerous attacks. There are other dribblers in the Bundesliga with similar qualities, but they don’t have his outstanding decision-making.” And it’s those qualities that Sancho has demonstrated so brilliantly in recent weeks.
Ivan Perisic (Bayern Munich)
Ivan Perisic has become a key figure in FC Bayern München’s push to retain their title. The 2018 FIFA World Cup runner-up is on loan from Inter Milan and has provided the record German champions with the drive forward they need. He proved in January how crucial he can be to their title defence, beginning in the 4-0 win away at Hertha Berlin as he set up the opening goal for Thomas Müller, before the 31-year-old wrapped up the result himself. He impressed again in the 5-0 victory over FC Schalke 04 and provided a constant threat with his crosses. In total he delivered 17 in January, which was the most in the league.
It’s no surprise, then, that Perisic looks like he’s enjoying life at Bayern. “Everything’s been positive so far in Munich, both on and off the pitch,” the Croatia international revealed in the club’s magazine before adding that he could very much envision remaining at the Allianz Arena beyond his loan spell. “I have a one-year deal on loan here, but there is an option to buy. I’m just taking things step by step, day by day,” the former VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund winger stated. Don’t expect any big statements from the forward, though. “The pitch is the only place where I give my answers. That’s the only place that matters.” That is a fact he demonstrated clearly in January.
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
New year, same old Robert Lewandowski, who has begun 2020 by continuing his remarkable scoring form with a goal on both of the first two matchdays after the winter break. His strikes in the 4-0 and 5-0 wins over Hertha Berlin and FC Schalke 04 respectively were his 20th and 21st of this Bundesliga campaign. The only player who’d ever previously reached that total after 19 matchdays was Gerd Müller in 1972/73. It means the Bayern striker is once again in the outright lead at the head of the top scorer race. He has put the record champions into the lead seven times this season, while his goal against Schalke was his fourth of the campaign in the opening 15 minutes – both are league bests. And there was yet another record for his collection in January. ‘Lewy’ has now scored in nine Bundesliga games in a row against Schalke, equalling the record held by Klaus Fischer against VfB Stuttgart for consecutive games scoring against a single opponent.
“Robert Lewandowski has everything. His goals, his movement – he’s 10 times better than me,” enthused legendary striker Miroslav Klose in Sport Bild on his successor in the Bayern attack. The 30-year-old’s continuous hunt for records has kept the champions in the chase for an eighth consecutive title, including their best-ever start to the second half of a season. Only Stuttgart have enjoyed a better return from the winter break with nine goals scored and none conceded in their first two games to begin the second half of 1990/91. As a good omen to Bayern, they have previously started the Rückrunde with back-to-back wins on nine occasions and gone on to lift the title each time.
Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich)
Leon Goretzka appears to have finally found his place in FC Bayern München’s starting XI in January. Playing in a more advanced role behind striker Robert Lewandowski, the Germany international looked the part. He had a hand in just one goal in eight games in the first half of the season, but the 24-year-old has now scored one and provided two assists in just two matches since the winter break. He has also set up more shots than any player in the second half of the season as he puts his injury woes from 2019 behind him.
The former FC Schalke 04 man showed what he can really do on Matchday 19 as he guided Bayern to a 5-0 win over his former club. His goal from a sideways scissor-kick was just the icing on the cake for his impressive performance, which he described in his best Frank Beckenbauer impression: “I didn’t really know where to put the ball, so if in doubt, put it in the net.” It was an all-round display that caught the eye at all levels of the club. “He’s given the team something extra and taken on responsibility,” said sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.
Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen)
The fireworks have kept going into the new year for Kai Havertz. Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s playmaker looked slightly short of his best at the end of the first half of the season, but he’s come back from the winter break in his usual top form once again. The 20-year-old shone in the opening 4-1 win at SC Paderborn with a goal and an assist, and the relief was clear to see for the Germany international after a tough end to 2019. “The free time’s done me good to recharge my batteries,” he said after his display at the promoted club, while also making no secret of his self-understanding. “I know my qualities; I know what I can do.”
That was on show again the following week against Fortuna Düsseldorf as he demonstrated his versatility and headed home the opening goal in the 3-0 derby win. It was the first time this season the Bayer academy product has scored in back-to-back Bundesliga games, while his haul of two goals and an assist from the first two games of 2020 already equals his total from the entire first half of the campaign. “I always feel good when we win, when I score, provide an assist or have a good game,” Havertz said of his great start to the new decade. One aspect of the youngster’s game not seen in the statistics, however, is his willingness to work for the good of the team. He is usually Leverkusen’s penalty taker but instead allowed Lucas Alario to take their spot-kick late in the game against Düsseldorf.
Timo Werner (December)
Timo Werner (November 2019)
Serge Gnabry (October 2019)
Amine Harit (September 2019)
Robert Lewandowski (August 2019)
Kai Havertz (May 2019)
Kai Havertz (April 2019)
Max Kruse (March 2019)
Julian Brandt (February 2019)
Leon Goretzka (January 2019)
Marco Reus (December 2018)
Marco Reus (November 2018)
Jadon Sancho (October 2018)
Marco Reus (September 2018)