Erling Braut Haaland nominated as Bundesliga MVP
Secures Dortmund’s second place
JO CHRISTIAN WELDINGH
Norwegian Erling Braut Haaland needed 30 minutes and three chances to score his first goal of the evening, when his Borussia Dortmund faced off against rival team RB Leipzig on June 20. After a cross from German Julian Brandt and a smart touch from American wunderkind Gio Reyna, Haaland finished the attack with a shot in the far corner.
After two minutes of stoppage time, Haaland got his second goal of the day. Brandt came loose on the right wing after an efficient counterattack and found Haaland on the far post. The game ended 2-0 in favor of Dortmund.
This was Haaland’s 12th and 13th goal for Dortmund since his debut in January, and they might have been the most important ones. The victory increased the gap between Dortmund and Leipzig to 6 points with only one game left to play and Dortmund secured their second place behind the untouchable Bayern Munich.
Haaland praised his American teammate Reyna in the official post-match interview.
“I’ve called him ‘The American Dream’ before, and that’s true. You know, he’s 17 years old and what he’s doing on the pitch today is amazing, so he has a huge future in front of him,” the 19-year-old Haaland said.
The game was set up as a duel between Haaland and Leipzig-striker Timo Werner, but both Werner and his team had a weak match. Dortmund created enough chances to score at least two more goals while Leipzig struggled the whole game.
This was the second weekend in a row where Haaland saved his team points. On June 13, Haaland entered the pitch as a substitute with the score 0-0 against Fortuna Dusseldorf and scored a game-winning header in stoppage time.
Two days before the game against Leipzig, Haaland became one of seven players to be nominated to the Bundesliga Player of the Year award. Besides Haaland the other nominees are Dortmund teammate Jadon Sancho, Robert Lewandowski, Werner, Kai Havertz, Serge Gnabry and Amine Harit.
Haaland was named Bundesliga’s Player of the Month in January.
Haaland became a Dortmund player in late December last year and scored three goals in his first game on Jan. 18. In the following week, he scored two goals in his home debut against FC Köln. His fifth goal came on Feb. 1, after a total of 56 minutes of play—a record.
In addition to Bundesliga MVP, Haaland has been nominated for the Golden Boy Award, which goes to the best soccer player 21 or younger. Former winners of the award are names like Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Wayne Rooney, and Haaland is seen as maybe the biggest favorite to win it this year.
Haaland has scored 13 goals in 14 games in German soccer (44 goals in 39 games in total, having also played with Red Bull Salzburg in Austria before moving to Dortmund) and has become one of the most talked-about players in international soccer. There are rumors of a transfer to both Real Madrid and Barcelona, but Haaland’s management has issued a statement saying he will remain in Dortmund and Germany for the time being.
This article originally appeared in the July 10, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.