Champions League: Borussia Dortmund are in transition after losing Erling Haaland to Manchester City
Borussia Dortmund will come up against their former talisman Erling Haaland for the first-time since his £51million move to Premier League champions Manchester City, as they go through a period of transition.
The Bundesliga outfit will make the trip to the Etihad Stadium to do battle with Manchester City on Wednesday evening for their second group-stage fixture, with both sides looking to build on their opening-day wins in Europe.
Pep Guardiola’s City ran out 4-0 winners over Sevilla, while Dortmund eased to a 3-0 success at home to Copenhagen.
Borussia Dortmund will face Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday night
They will come up against their former talisman Erling Haaland who left for £51m this summer
Dortmund, of course, are missing the goals of Haaland as he notched 86 goals in 89 games during his two-year stay in Germany – while the Norwegian striker has also been in astonishing form for Pep Guardiola’s side, netting 12 times in seven games across the Premier League and Champions League so far.
It is about a lot more than that for Edin Terzic’s side, who appear to be going through a real transition period, having made numerous summer signings after the departure of star striker Haaland.
Not only has Haaland left, but there is plenty of speculation surrounding Jude Bellingham leaving Dortmund for either Real Madrid or Liverpool at the end of the season.
This summer, the German outfit moved to bring in the likes of Sebastien Haller, Karim Adeyemi, Nico Schlotterbeck, Anthony Modeste, Salih Ozcan, Niklas Sule, Marcel Lotka, Alexander Meyer, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Tom Rothe with the money amassed from the sale of Haaland.
Haller’s signature from Ajax for £31million was seen as the main replacement for Haaland after he notched 34 goals in all competitions last season.
Dortmund’s new £31million signing Sebastien Haller is currently undergoing chemotherapy
The former West Ham United striker was, however, diagnosed with a testicular tumour after feeling unwell during the club’s pre-season tour of Switzerland in July – a major set-back for both the player and club.
Haller has since started chemotherapy and he even revealed that the first stages of his treatment have not been easy.
‘The first two or three days during the hospital (visit) and two or three days after, it’s not the best moment,’ the 28-year-old said.
The rest of the summer signings were clearly brought in, looking ahead to the future, including striker Adeyemi and yet another England teenage sensation in the form of Bynoe-Gittens.
Like Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham, the Premier League’s biggest clubs are likely to be looking at Bynoe-Gittens’ progress at Borussia Dortmund and kicking themselves, as he follows in the footsteps of the two England stars.
Teenage sensation Jamie Bynoe-Gittens (pictured) has already broken into the first-team
He only just turned 18 last month, but has already notched his first goal for the German giants and signed a long-term deal.
Prior to his move to Germany he spent time in both Reading and Manchester City’s academies – therefore the comparison to Sancho is strong after leaving City for a new challenge abroad.
The youngster suffered a nasty ankle injury in his first campaign at youth level in Germany, but he delivered better stats than Sancho ever managed in Dortmund’s Under-19s last season.
He was then rewarded by former first-team boss Marco Rose with a Bundesliga debut, aged 17, in a 6-1 win over Wolfsburg in April before going on to make four appearances, including a full debut, at the end of last campaign.
Bynoe-Gittens then started four times, including the final, as England’s Under-19s beat Israel 3-1 to be crowned champions of Europe.
The 18-year-old is looking to follow in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho (left) and Jude Bellingham (right) who both broke onto the scene by developing their game at Borussia Dortmund
The tricky winger has made five appearances in all competitions so far this season and he also scored his first senior goal to spark a 3-1 victory over Freiburg after originally trailing 1-0.
The 18-year-old, who is the fourth England-born player to sign for Dortmund, suffered a set-back, picking up a shoulder injury during the Champions League opener – therefore ruling him out for the time being.
On the pitch at present, they are lacking a natural or a prolific goalscorer as they have begun the season with some erratic form without Haaland or his replacement Haller.
There is no doubt Dortmund miss the goals of Haaland, like any team in the world would, but they have managed to find a way around it in most games this season.
Borussia Dortmund suffered a 3-0 drubbing at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga on the weekend
It has, however, been evident in others including the 3-0 drubbing at RB Leipzig – now under the stewardship of Marco Rose, who was sacked by Dortmund in the summer on the weekend that they miss the star striker.
A second defeat of the Bundesliga season for Dortmund and by far their worst performance at both ends of the pitch, especially offensively, where they couldn’t muster a single shot on target – therefore it was no surprise they failed to find the net for the first time this season.
There is a desperate need for others to chip in with goals to help fill the current void with only Marco Reus scoring more than once so far this season.
Marco Reus is the only Borussia Dortmund player to have scored more than once this season
Granted, their eight goals in the Bundesliga have been shared out between seven different players and the attack has looked more fluid than last season in certain games.
But only eight goals for and seven against in the Bundesliga puts them well off the pace in terms of goal difference with the four teams currently above them in the league table.
Without Haller at present, Adeyemi and others will need to step up, as they can’t rely upon captain Reus to produce each and every match.
They’ll need plenty of players, not just in attack to step up, as they come up against unbeaten Man City.
Guardiola’s side remain undefeated in the league and in Europe with Haaland being a huge impact, although Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl recently slammed the forward and claimed he was a ‘burden’ while at the club.
Despite being prolific while at the Westfalenstadion, Kehl was critical of the wider impact that Haaland had on the team by the end of his stay with the club.
Borussia Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl has branded Erling Haaland a ‘burden’
‘As much as we have always appreciated Erling and the success he has had with our shirt, in the end the matter had definitely become a burden, both in the dressing room and for the club,’ he told Sport Bild.
‘In general, for the whole environment, it was just him. The timing of the sale was right, both for us and for City. The fact that our first 10 goals this season have been scored by 10 different players proves it.’
Kehl also believes Haaland’s departure has benefitted the squad as a whole going into this season.
‘I would have liked to have been certain (about the Norwegian’s departure) a little earlier, because that issue limited our preparation.
‘Without him, we have the possibility to trust the other players. The fact that our first ten competitive goals have been scored by ten different players shows that pretty well.’
Dortmund head into the clash on the back of a poor defeat in the Bundesliga while City come off the back of a weekend off after their Premier League fixture was postponed, as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.