A soccer star in action
Haaland wins first career title with Dortmund
JO CHRISTIAN WELDINGH
Norwegian soccer player Erling Braut Haaland scored two goals when his Borussia Dortmund beat fellow Norwegian Alexander Sørloth’s RB Leipzig 4-1 and won the DFB Pokal, the German cup, at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. This was Haaland’s first career title.
Seen through Norwegian eyes, it was a historic night. For the first time, two Norwegian players faced each other in a German cup final. It went on to become a game Sørloth will want to forget as soon as possible. He started the game for RB Leipzig but was substituted off at half-time.
The two teams had played each other two times earlier this season, and both games ended with a Dortmund win. Dortmund seemed destined for victory when Englishman Jadon Sancho put the ball in the top corner after only five minutes of play. Haaland scored his first goal after 28 minutes, and Sancho scored his second of the game a minute into the first half’s stoppage time. The game was practically over at halftime. Dani Olmo scored for Leipzig in the 71st minute, but the game never became exciting. When Haaland scored Dortmund’s fourth and his second goal in the 87th minute, the Dortmund players could start their celebration.
Haaland made his breakthrough in European soccer last season at 19, scoring 16 goals in 14 games for his Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg. Midway through the season, every big club in Europe wanted his signature. He ended up in Borussia Dortmund, a team known for giving young players playing time. Haaland started his career at Dortmund with three goals in 23 minutes and continued to score 24 goals in 24 matches in the back half of last season, a record start in the German Bundesliga.
This season, Haaland has continued turning in performances several levels above what is expected for someone his age. The numbers speak for themselves: 39 goals in 40 matches and top goal scorer in the most prestigious club tournament in the world, the Champions League, for a Dortmund team that at times has been struggling this season.
In December, Haaland was named 2020’s Golden boy, an award that is given by sports journalists to a young soccer player playing in Europe perceived to have been the most impressive during a calendar year. Former winners include big names like Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, and Paul Pogba.
Haaland’s performances in the last 18 months have made him one of the most sought-after players in European soccer. He is seen as one of the absolute best forwards in modern football and one of the best young players ever. Clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, and Chelsea are all rumored to be interested in signing him this summer, but he comes with a big price tag. According to the reputable website transfermarkt.com, Haaland is number three on the list over the most valuable soccer players in the world, valued at a staggering $134 million. Rumors have it, however, that Haaland’s contract includes a release clause that will make him available for around $90 million next summer. If his form continues, he will be on the wish list of every major club in Europe.
This article originally appeared in the June 4, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.