“It’s all about the hunt for wins and goals” – Inside BVB features Haaland and Can in pursuit of silverware
In an exclusive interview with GOAL, BVB stars Haaland and Can reveal what drives them on the pitch to improve…
Scoring goals is often considered the most difficult task on a football pitch, but a certain Norwegian from Borussia Dortmund made it unbelievably easy.
Erling Haaland has scored seven goals in his first three league appearances for Borussia Dortmund and has averaged one goal per game since the former Red Bull Salzburg player joined BVB in January 2020. Staggering statistics for a player from 20 years ; the kind of numbers we usually associate with characters like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or a Robert Lewandowski.
By his own admission, the move from Salzburg to Dortmund was “massive”, but the move had little impact on his performance on the pitch. It only took three minutes to score his first goal and 15 minutes later he had scored a hat-trick against Augsburg away.
He has proven to be an insatiable predator who “hunts” for success.
“As a striker I try to win and chase goals because I’m a striker and I have to deliver the goals. I’m thirsty for goals and you know it, ”said Haaland casually.
Many believe that the softest sound to an attacker’s ears is the ball crashing into the back of the net. Maybe all the strikers live for it. Well, Haaland definitely does.
“I like the sound,” said the forward instinctively, watching the highlights of his first UEFA Champions League goal against PSG in Dortmund colors.
Meanwhile, during the January 2020 transfer window, another player arrived with Haaland at Borussia; Emre Can. If the teenager brought freshness to the team, Can added calm and serenity to the midfield.
Since leaving Bayer Leverkusen in 2014, he has spent four seasons with Liverpool and two more at Juventus in Italy before finally returning to Germany. His stays in England and Italy have helped him become more of a team player, someone who puts his body on the line time and time again, not for individual glory but for the collective.
“Of course, for me my performance is always important. When I play football it’s really important. But it’s also important for the rest of the team that we all look good, we all perform, and we all give our all on the pitch. And I want to win. I always want to win and that’s why I always want to help my teammates.
“It’s like a family. When you go out on the field, you have to be a family, you have to protect your family. And that’s why I always think about it. If a player is dribbling in front of my teammate, then I want to be there. I want to win the ball and that’s why I’m always there for them, ”Can said.
The German is one of the senior players on the squad and the midfielder enjoys his leadership role in the center of the park. He is surrounded by young players like Gio Reyna, Jude Bellingham and the Germany international is a reassuring figure on the pitch who allows young people to move forward and express themselves more fluently.
“I knew when I arrived that we had a very young team. I knew my position would be a little different. A few years ago I was still among the youngest and now I am one of the oldest. I want to be the part that can be strong or the part that can be the leader of the team. When I was young, I was captain in a lot of teams. Off the pitch, I’m not the loudest, but on the pitch, I was always loud. “
As a defensive midfielder, his job is to break up attacks, regain possession of the ball and find his teammate to build an attack. More often than not, he has to play hard, throw in with a few crisp tackles, and do the dirty work.
“I want to be tough, because I know what it feels like if someone is tough on you. It doesn’t do me good. That’s why I always want to be tough on the pitch. But if I do something, if I’m wrong. something, in the first moment my reaction may be a mistake, but in the end I’m still going to say sorry, I’m playing hard, but I still want to play fair on the pitch.
“I’m not a player who, if the referee isn’t looking, would nudge someone. I’ve never been like this and when I make a mistake, I say sorry for the mistake. In the end, what happens on the ground stays on the ground. “
Haaland and Can are both captivated by the atmosphere of Signal Iduna Park. On match days, the Südtribune (south stand) hosts the gigantic Yellow Wall, a standing section of 25,000 fans, whose loud and incessant chants encourage players to give their all on the pitch. They feed off fan energy and many memorable comebacks have been made possible thanks to their 12th Devout Man.
“In Dortmund, if you had a stadium with 200,000 supporters, every match would be sold out. In Dortmund there is something special with the supporters. For example, I have played in a lot of stadiums around the world. It’s something really, really. , really special.
“When I played my first game here for Dortmund, we played against Eintracht Frankfurt. It was a Friday game, I remember. Friday matches… It’s always full, but you never know the atmosphere in the stadium. But after 5 minutes, I was looking at the booth saying, “Hey, what’s going on here?” It was crazy, crazy, crazy. It’s all the games here in Dortmund, not just the big games. It makes him special, ”Can said, his voice seething with excitement.
Meanwhile, Haaland was named to the bench on his home debut. However, just as he came out of the tunnel, the crowd made sure the boy was comfortable with the chants and songs.
“Yeah, I felt it. Yeah, I was just trying to make the most of the moment. ”
But the feeling of scoring in front of “The Wall”, and especially during his debut, is a memory of a lifetime for the striker.
“I warmed up, it was on the other side of the [Yellow] Wall, so you can look up and think, “Wow, that’s huge”! Yes, then they called me and it was good enough to score in front of the wall, it was very nice! It was, for me as a striker, the perfect start.
“I can’t put words on when I score. It’s just such a nice feeling, you know! It’s hard to explain, but yes the sky is the limit.
Haaland continues to be driven by a thirst for more goals. Against Hertha after scoring three times he was looking for his fourth. He wants to score goals and on some of the biggest stages in football. And there aren’t many more illustrious nights in European football than a Champions League matchday. He grew up watching big name club competition in Europe and now that he’s competing in it, it’s extra motivation for him to do well.
“The Champions League is something a little more special. I start to smile when I talk about it because it really is something special. It’s just something that I can’t really put into words, because all my life I’ve watched champions. League, every final, a lot of games, people scoring goals, with the song before the game starts. It’s the best, you know. It happens to me a little more than a normal match. “
But to be counted among the greats in the game, a player must earn silverware. Scoring 50 goals per season becomes futile if the trophy cabinet remains dusty. And Haaland and Can aren’t ready to stop unless they win championships in the famous black and yellow.
“I think we are really hungry to win titles. I think it was a few years ago that we won something. We need that mentality of everyone, who wants to give their all to win titles. And that’s why I say I think we are hungry. for them, ”said Can.
While the former Salzburg player is already dreaming of the winners’ parade on Borsigplatz in Dortmund with millions of club loyalists.
“Realize something with Dortmund. Yes, with Borussia Dortmund as a club, that will be my biggest dream right now. Trying to do my best to get this club to achieve something. I think everyone at this club deserves it, and for me, I will do my best whenever I can, to try to achieve it. And yes, this parade in Dortmund would be nice. I’ve heard good things about it! So, I think that would be great! ”Haaland cried.
The extravagant and explosive striker continues to be in a rich vein of form in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League. If he continues to rack up goals ahead and the team finds new momentum under Edin Terzić, Haaland’s dream may not remain far-fetched at the end of the campaign.