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With Erling Haaland in magnificent form, it is hard to see BVB not scoring at least twice against a struggling Gladbach side.
Borussia Dortmund and Over 1.5 goals
Such is their consistent brilliance, soccer fans have long run out of superlatives for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. That might soon be the case for Erling Haaland too. The Borussia Dortmund striker continues to dazzle. His brace against Union Berlin last time out means he has now scored 68 goals in 67 games for BVB in all competitions. His five appearances this season have yielded eight goals. The 21-year-old is putting the ball in the back of the net with a regularity scarcely seen in someone so young. Even Messi and Ronaldo did not have records this outstanding at his age.
Haaland is patently not at their level just yet, but his performances for Dortmund over the last two years mean he is already one of the best strikers in the world. His employers must capitalize on his presence. Haaland has a release clause in his contract that makes him available for $88m in 2022. With Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and Manchester City all circling, it is safe to say Haaland will not be at Signal Iduna Park at the start of next term.
What capitalizing on his presence actually means in practice is up for debate. Ideally, it would constitute a Bundesliga title triumph, but Bayern Munich has not skipped a beat in swapping Hansi Flick for Julian Nagelsmann. Even with Haaland leading the line, Dortmund are not expected to overhaul Bayern this term, although the prospect should not be dismissed out of hand.
Perhaps a deep run in the Champions League is a more viable target. Dortmund is capable of beating any team in Europe on their day, and with the luck of the draw, a place in the semi-finals should not be beyond them. He may well move on to bigger and better things next season, but Dortmund is much more than a stepping stone for Haaland. He will be doing all he can to win silverware for Marco Rose’s side.
Borussia Monchengladbach have had a disappointing start to the season. Rose was in charge at Borussia-Park the last term, and many fans of the club hold Dortmund partly accountable for their downturn in 2020/21. Gladbach beat BVB 4-2 towards the end of January to move up to fifth place in the table, and a Champions League spot seemed realistic at that point.
Yet it soon became an open secret that Rose would be taking over at Dortmund at the end of the campaign, and Gladbach then began to tumble down the table. They dropped as low as 10th at one point, before stabilizing to finish eighth. Still, that was an underwhelming ending given how close they had been to the Champions League places a few months earlier.
Adi Hutter, the former Eintracht Frankfurt boss, was chosen to replace Rose. He has had a difficult first few weeks at Borussia-Park. Gladbach held Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw on the opening weekend, and they have since beaten Arminia Bielefeld in their other home game. Yet away defeats by Bayer Leverkusen, Union Berlin and Augsburg mean the Foals go into this weekend’s match in the relegation play-off place. It is still early days and Hutter has the experience to turn the situation around, but this is certainly not what the fans envisaged after that promising display against Bayern on matchday one.
Gladbach are not the only team in the Bundesliga under new management this term; in fact, seven of last season’s top eight are. Hutter is not the only new man struggling – Jesse Marsch is also having a difficult time at RB Leipzig, for instance. Hutter has a talented squad at his disposal, but there is still work to do to get his message across. The Austrian would no doubt have hoped for a kinder fixture this weekend given his team’s difficulties to date.
Still, an argument could be made that Gladbach are better off facing the likes of Dortmund right now. The pressure will be off to an extent, and Hutter’s side seemed to benefit from being the underdogs when Bayern visited Borussia-Park. Gladbach will be able to take a step back on Saturday and look to hit Dortmund on the counter-attack.
Whether or not that pays off remains to be seen. Dortmund are scoring goals for fun right now, with Haaland the star man but not the only attacker capable of causing defenses problems. They are averaging 3.4 goals per game in the Bundesliga and will note that Gladbach have yet to keep a clean sheet this term.
Dortmund’s own defensive record is even worse than Gladbach’s, but that has not seemed to matter much so far. Back an away win and more than 1.5 goals.
|Borussia Monchengladbach vs Borussia Dortmund Information|
|Teams||Borussia Monchengladbach vs Borussia Dortmund|
|Location||Borussia-Park, Monchengladbach, Germany|
|Time||Saturday, 25 September 2021, 12.30 PM EDT|
|How to watch||ESPN|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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