Nico Schlotterbeck may not know how to stop Haaland after all
What does a team playing Manchester City even do about Erling Haaland?
No team in the world would have a better idea about that than Borussia Dortmund, but all they could do is watch as their former superstar striker produced a preposterous goal to give Man City a 2-1 comeback victory over the German side in the Champions League on Wednesday.
A day after Dortmund defender Nico Schlotterbeck said “I know how to stop Haaland,” the Norway striker proved that statement to be not entirely true. Schlotterbeck didn’t start for Dortmund, but that appeared largely irrelevant. Haaland wasn’t particularly involved, and Dortmund entered the final minutes of the match up 1-0 on a Jude Bellingham goal.
However, Man City’s pressure paid off. With Dortmund forced to defend too deep for too long, they made the choice to hunker down, bringing Schlotterbeck in for Anthony Modeste in the hopes that an extra defender would see them through.
However, Dortmund just kept being too deep, and that gave room for John Stones to launch a rocket from out on the right to equalize in the 80th minute.
If Stones’ goal was a top-tier strike, what came next for Haaland was in the stratosphere. João Cancelo used the outside of his right foot to scoop a sumptuous pass into the area, but even with perfect delivery, Haaland was marked on both sides. Even the best strikers would have a hard time ensuring that their run took them away from one marker, and still gave them an angle to beat the other to the ball.
Haaland did both of those things, but added a level of difficulty to it by somewhat inexplicably opting against a leap for a header. Instead, he did a nearly full splits, hopping up with his right foot and using his left to acrobatically stab the ball past Alexander Meyer.
Oh, and the person marking him most closely as all that was going on? Apologies to Schlotterbeck, but at least he got the best look at an incredible goal.
It was impressive as it was vital, as a road draw for Dortmund would have given the German side a slight edge in the race to win Group G. Haaland’s late winner instead gives Man City a three-point edge after just two rounds of games, and with two meetings with group minnows FC Copenhagen still to come.
The goal just adds to Haaland’s spectacular start to life in Manchester. He has 13 goals in just nine appearances so far, including at least one goal in each of Man City’s last six competitive matches.
Watch Haaland defy gravity to score Man City’s winner