Home / Bundesliga / Erling Haaland fever intensifies ahead of hotshot striker’s Borussia Dortmund debut  

Erling Haaland fever intensifies ahead of hotshot striker’s Borussia Dortmund debut  

It’s known as Biohacking, the new craze for the complete optimisation of the human body and it’s functions through nutrition, regulated rest and high-intensity exercise.

The idea is to maximise concentration levels and productivity throughout the day, therefore increasing well-being and happiness.

And, it transpires, Erling Haaland is a biohacker. During a warm weather training camp with his former club Red Bull Salzburg, Haaland liked to get up early, enjoy the sunrise and draw energy from it.

Haaland on the beach in Marbella during Borussia Dortmund’s winter break training camp

Haaland, signed by Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg last month, is poised to make his debut

Haaland, signed by Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg last month, is poised to make his debut

Dortmund hope the Norwegian can replicate his prolific scoring form from Austria's top-flight

Dortmund hope the Norwegian can replicate his prolific scoring form from Austria’s top-flight

We know this because every aspect of the 19-year-old footballer’s life has been picked apart by the German media since he caused a sensation just before the New Year by signing for Borussia Dortmund.

‘This is the most spectacular transfer of the winter,’ declared the Munich newspaper Abendzeitung Munchen.

‘Dortmund have two of the four most valuable players under the age of 20 in the world,’ gushed tabloid Bild as Haaland joined Jadon Sancho in their line-up for the second half of the season.

Bild, helpfully, also put together a guide to the Biohacking craze as though Haaland will be its new poster boy.

There was a general consensus among fans and pundits alike in Germany that Dortmund winning the tug-of-war for the Norwegian striker was a good thing for the Bundesliga as a whole.

Haaland is welcomed to Dortmund by chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke last month

Haaland is welcomed to Dortmund by chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke last month

The 19-year-old was impressed by Dortmund's plans for him to lead their attack

The 19-year-old was impressed by Dortmund’s plans for him to lead their attack 

His arrival at the Westfalenstadion certainly caused a collective dropping of jaws across the football world, not least at Manchester United, who believed they were in the chase to sign this coveted and prolific player.

And on Saturday we will begin to learn whether Haaland can cut it at this higher standard of football when Dortmund make the trip to Augsburg.

This weekend marks the resumption of the Bundesliga season, following almost a month of winter break and it’s shaping up to be one of the most exciting title races in years.

Bayern Munich’s hegemony is under serious threat from Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach and possibly others with the race very much on in the Rückrunde.

Haaland will no doubt be aware that extreme Biohackers have started implanting mircochips under their skin to enhance their navigational skills (one chip vibrates whenever the person is facing north), monitor body temperature or use magnets to open car doors.

Haaland will hope to continue his prolific season, having scored 28 goals for Salzburg

Haaland will hope to continue his prolific season, having scored 28 goals for Salzburg

The striker signs autographs for Dortmund fans before jetting off to their training camp

The striker signs autographs for Dortmund fans before jetting off to their training camp

Dortmund fixtures

Bundesliga unless stated

Saturday Augsburg (A)

January 24 Cologne (H)

February 1 Union Berlin (H)

February 4 Werder Bremen (A)

DFB Cup third round

February 8 Bayer Leverkusen (A)

February 14 Eintracht Frankfurt (H)

He would no doubt love one implanted in his feet that always directs the ball towards the net though given his awesome scoring rate this season, the technology probably isn’t necessary.

28 goals in 22 matches in the Austrian Bundesliga, Austrian Cup and Champions League indicate a striker in blistering form. Dortmund will just hope this carries over for their £18million fee.

But what kind of a player will he be and what can he offer a team desperate to break Bayern’s stranglehold on the Bundesliga shield?

Certainly the hope around Dortmund is that they have finally found a replacement for Robert Lewandowski, the prolific Pole who left for Bayern in 2014.

Various players have tried to fill the void with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the most successful in terms of goal return, though he was more reliant on his speed to breach defences than being an out-and-out No 9.

His new team-mate Marco Reus believes Haaland is a closer match: ‘I don’t think we’ve had that kind of striker since Lewandowski.

Haaland's signing has caused a ripple of excitement among Dortmund players and fans alike

Haaland’s signing has caused a ripple of excitement among Dortmund players and fans alike

Dortmund are fourth in the Bundesliga at present but a thrilling title race is in prospect

Dortmund are fourth in the Bundesliga at present but a thrilling title race is in prospect

How Dortmund could line up with Haaland 

3-4-3 

Burki; Akanji, Hummels, Zagadou; Hakimi, Witsel, Brandt, Guerreiro; Sancho, Haaland, Reus 

‘He gives us the option to be more flexible and to play in different systems and styles.’

And from the comments of Haaland himself it becomes clear that Dortmund have one role earmarked for him and one role only.

‘They just went direct and said,’ We need you up front, we like your playing style and we want to have you here,’ he said.

So it’s clear that Haaland will occupy the centre forward position in the 3-4-3 system manager Lucien Favre has had them playing in the past few weeks.

Haaland will be flanked by Reus on the left and Sancho on the right in the three up front.

And should Favre revert to the 4-2-3-1 formation used earlier in the season, Haaland will be the sole striker, with Reus tucking in behind him, Thorgan Hazard on the left and Sancho on the right.

It spells bad news, however, for the other contenders for Dortmund’s centre forward berth, notably Paco Alcacer and Mario Gotze.

Dortmund hope in Haaland they have found a Robert Lewandowski style finisher

Dortmund hope in Haaland they have found a Robert Lewandowski style finisher 

Haaland is likely to play in the centre forward position with Reus and Sancho alongside him

Haaland is likely to play in the centre forward position with Reus and Sancho alongside him

It’s no coincidence that both Alcacer and Gotze have been the subject of transfer stories since Haaland’s arrival was confirmed.

Spanish forward Alcacer, who signed permanently from Barcelona last February after a successful loan, has been unfortunate.

He started the season in excellent scoring form, finding a new lease of life in German football, before being struck with a couple of niggling injuries in the autumn that affected his form and cost him his place.

Gotze, whose contract expires in the summer anyway and is still only 27 years of age, has become accustomed to warming the bench this season.

He has mustered three goals in 16 bit-part appearances and really the arrival of Haaland merely confirms that he is on his way out.

Haaland’s arrival will certainly energise and excite the Dortmund faithful, who were already starting to believe this could be their year.

The hype has certainly been cranked up in anticipation of his debut. Let’s hope Haaland is able to deliver.

 

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