Borussia Dortmund are set to spend the international break worrying about Erling Haaland’s fitness after the club indicated the Norway striker’s injury could drag on in the second half of October.
Haaland has not played with a muscle problem since 19 September and will be ruled out of Norway’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Turkey and Montenegro.
Haaland wished the team luck on Twitter on Monday for their ambition to play in Norway’s first major tournament since 2000.
“Fundamentally, all clubs have a duty to release (players) for international duty”, Dortmund’s team administrative manager Sebastian Kehl said in comments published by Westdeutschen Allgemeinen Zeitung newspaper on Monday.
“However, Erling is currently injured and has not been able to play for us until recently and cannot even attend team training for the next few weeks.”
Kiehl said he expected the Norwegian federation to “trust in us and (Halland)” over the injury.
Sporting director Michael Zorc told the newspaper that Dortmund returned to action against Mainz on 16 October and “hopefully” will be fit enough to play Haaland.
That game could see the return of forward Jio Reyna, who sits in upcoming games for the United States, and midfielder Mahmood Dahoud. If Haaland’s anticipated return date gets pushed back, it could affect Dortmund’s Champions League game against Ajax on October 19.
Few players switch their teams entirely as far as 21-year-old Haaland. He has scored 11 goals and five assists in seven games so far this season, and contributes indirectly to more goals by taking defenders out of positions and making room for teammates.
With Haaland in the team this season, Dortmund have averaged around three goals per game. In the three matches played so far due to injury, Dortmund have averaged one goal. Fans have been satisfied with the glimpse of him sitting in the stands or dressed in black as he accepts the UEFA award on the field.
Dortmund have been here before. A muscle tear caused Haaland to miss seven games in December last year in a 5-1 loss to Stuttgart, which led to the ouster of Lucien Favre as coach.
If Dortmund cannot dominate teams in the attack, it puts more pressure on an error-prone defense. In the past two weeks, have Dortmund competed without Haaland? Around. The 1–0 loss to rivals Borussia M?Chengladbach was particularly bitter due to the lack of opportunities created for Dortmund coach Marco Rose against his old club.
Sporting were better after a 1–0 win over Lisbon and a 2–1 win over Augsburg, although none of the opponents actually challenged the Dortmund back line.
Other players can do the same with the brakes. Centre-back Mats Hummels has not been called to Germany and said on Instagram on Sunday that “I have a little time again to improve my health and fitness status.”
There is also a burning question of Holland’s future. His immense talent and young age mark Haaland as an excellent long-term bet for any club that can afford his transfer fees and potentially astronomical wages. Very few clubs have that kind of money, especially during coronavirus global pandemic.
Haaland’s father and his agent publicly revealed ties to certain Spaniards and EnglandBiggest club in April, but little has come since then.
Dortmund risked failing to qualify for the Champions League at the time, but ultimately did, keeping Haaland in the biggest shop window in world football.
Selling Jadon Sancho to Manchester United ensures Dortmund have the income to keep Haaland for another season. Still, his future is far from certain.