Sat, 19 Jun 2021

Crunch time Dortmund hoping for Haaland return

Xinhua
07 May 2021, 21:49 GMT+10

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, May 7 (Xinhua) -- The expected return of top scorer Erling Haaland is a major boost for Borussia Dortmund with the season coming to the crunch.

Ahead of decisive weeks, the Black and Yellow's Norwegian goal machine is said to be back training after picking up a minor injury that has kept the 20-year-old out of the last games.

The club is facing a major challenge as the 2012 German champion is in the middle of a tight race to qualify for next season's Champions League campaign, and the 2021 German Cup final on May 13 is also looming.

The news of Haaland's likely return is creating optimism as Dortmund (55 points) needs to win all its league games (Leipzig, Mainz, Leverkusen) and hope its rivals for a Champions League place - Eintracht Frankfurt (56) and VfL Wolfsburg (57) - slip up.

Coach Edin Terzic and his squad are trying to forget about various rumors about the club's and Haaland's future.

The spearhead has been the subject of speculation about a departure this summer. Reports indicate he is a top target of Europe's leading clubs.

Terzic is trying to keep his players' minds entirely focused on the upcoming tasks as four straight league wins are required if the club is to meet its objectives.

Failing to qualify for next season's Champions League campaign would significantly impact the team's future. Not only Haaland is said to consider leaving but England international Jadon Sancho aside from a financial loss of up to 45 million euros.

Dortmund is said to be preparing for a Sancho departure by eying Eindhoven's 19-year-old Noni Madueke.

The latest upswing of team captain Marco Reus and the increased defensive stability has put the club in a promising position, though. Terzic praised Reus' leadership qualities "as he gives us more options; he is scoring and pushing the team." The Dortmund coach called his captain a vital factor responsible for the latest success.

"We are back in a hunting mood. Our competitors might start to have second thoughts about the remaining games," Dortmund team director Sebastian Kehl commented.

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