Football Features

Erling Haaland changes more than just the score as Dortmund beat Dusseldorf 0-1

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 16:51, 13 June 2020 | Updated: 10:02, 30 March 2021

In a tight and tense afternoon of football, Borussia Dortmund beat Dusseldorf 0-1 with a last minute strike from Erling Haaland.

Dortmund were far from their best at the Venue Merkur Spiel-Arena, playing listlessly in the afternoon heat. But when they called on Haaland to save them from the substitutes bench, that is exactly what the teenager ended up doing.

The difference in the tempo of Dortmund’s play when Haaland merely stepped onto the field was remarkable, if short-lived. Usually it’s only midfielders who can have this kind of control over the pace of games but Haaland has become such an inspirational figure in his short time in Germany that his team-mates know that his mere presence acts like a starting pistol.

Dortmund had been languid to that point, as if they were waiting for Dusseldorf to get tired and start making mistakes. That’s what happened when Dortmund played Paderborn, smashing the bottom placed side with six goals that all came after the 54th minute.

But if anything, Dusseldorf got better in the second period, buoyed by how lifeless Dortmund had been without their star striker in the first-half. Lucien Favre’s side had conjured just two chances in the opening period, one a golden chance for Achraf Hakimi and the other a decent one for Julian Brandt. That was it.

For the second-top scorers in the Bundesliga that was far from impressive and under Uwe Rosler, Dusseldorf have become a more stout side. So they dominated the second-half for 15 minutes, but then Haaland came on.

Instantly, Dortmund were transformed. They were passing sharper, moving faster and their ideas were more clear. Dusseldorf seemed to have no clue how to handle this newly energised Dortmund and it was no surprise that five minutes later, Dortmund had scored.

Some slick build-up on the right saw the ball cut back to Haaland on the edge of the box. The teenager adjusted his body and cocked bag is .50 cal of a left-foot and slammed the ball goalward – but it was blocked instantly and instead looped into the air.

Here Haaland’s team-mate Raphael Guerreiro, energised by Dortmund’s new drive, appeared and controlled the ball before sumptuously volleyed it home. It was a scorching strike and validated the impact of Haaland’s presence, until it was disallowed for a contentious handball.

That VAR decision sucked the wind out of Dortmund’s sails, suddenly all the tempo Haaland had given them was gone and they became even more aimless than they were before his introduction. The Norwegian was absolutely starved of service. Dusseldorf grew into the game and had the better chances, including twice smacking the woodwork, and looked to be on the way to a hard-earned point.

But even if Dortmund’s collective mental strength was so easily dampened, Erling Haaland’s was not. As stoppage time ticked down, Manuel Akanji whipped in a hopeful cross from a deeper position and Haaland rose majestically and guided the ball off his head into the back of the net.

This was a truly spectacular header that was made to look very easy. A dagger through the heart of Dusseldorf, a 14th Dortmund goal in his 16th Dortmund game. The teenage wonderkid is an unstoppable goalscoring force that nothing, not opponents, not even his own team’s listless performances, can stop.

Other Bundesliga scores:

  • Wolfsburg 2-2 Freiburg: Wolfsburg threw away a two-goal lead given to them by Wout Weghorst (although they had a third harshly ruled out) as Freiburg struck either side of half-time to pull things level in this battle for Europa League spot.
  • Hertha 1-4 Eintracht Frankfurt: Hertha took the lead but Frankfurt fired back in the second-half with four unanswered goals, two from Andre Silva who now has more goals than anyone else since the Bundesliga restart (6).
  • Koln 1-2 Union Berlin: Both sides were trying to establish a big buffer between them and the relegation scrap and it was Union Berlin who took the points with two first-half goals.
  • Paderborn 1-5 Werder Bremen: Bremen took a hugely positive step in their battle with relegation by absolutely destroying Paderborn away from home. They missed a penalty early on but Davy Klaasen scored twice as they drew level on points with Dusseldorf and just one game back from Mainz in 15th.