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Feats aplenty for Sebastien Haller
Haller had a strong half of the season after joining Ajax from West Ham United in January 2021 and had an even stronger first entire season in the Eredivisie, scoring a bucketload of goals domestically and setting the Champions League alight.
The Ivory Coast frontman finished top scorer in the Dutch top flight and was outdone by only Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski in Europe.
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The story of last season
Having netted 11 Eredivisie goals in 19 appearances after his January transfer, Haller followed that up with 21 strikes in 2021/22 to outscore every individual in the league as Ajax claimed a 36th league title.
It was in the Champions League, though, that the Ivory Coast frontman threatened to outscore the continent’s top sides on his competition debut.
He became the first player since Marco van Basten (1992) to score four on his CL debut, became the first player to score nine goals in the opening five group games and matched Cristiano Ronaldo’s feat of scoring in all six group stage matchdays.
Another goal in the first knockout round saw him become the first player to score in seven games on the trot, ending the European campaign with 11 strikes.
For the national team, Haller was involved in Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign, scoring one and assisting as many as the Elephants reached the Round of 16 in Cameroon.
Any transfer rumours?
At the time of writing, the Ivorian is said to be on the verge of a return to the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund his likely destination.
With Ajax and BVB agreeing to a fee, the completion of the deal looks imminent subject to personal terms being agreed upon and a successful medical.
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One big hope for 2022/23
That the frontman settles quickly at Dortmund assuming the deal goes through, as the pressure of replacing Erling Haaland’s goals and impact is likely to weigh heavily from day one.
Having shown the decisive quality in the final third for the last 18 months, continuing where he left off at the backend of last season will be just what the doctor ordered.
The forward has a history in the German top flight too, notably scoring 15 times in 29 appearances in a rather prolific 2018/19 season with Eintracht Frankfurt before leaving for West Ham United.
Thus, having flourished on his return to the Eredivisie, Haller should be self-assured that he would thrive next season.
One big fear for 2022/23
Having witnessed Donyell Malen’s struggles in adapting from the Eredivisie last season, Dortmund will be wary of the same fate befalling Haller if his return to the Bundesliga is confirmed.
With the club no longer guaranteed Haaland’s incredible goal-scoring, they need their imminent signing firing on all cylinders to have any hope of challenging the Bayern Munich hegemony in Germany.
If the Ivory Coast international fails to fire, BVB could be in dire straits next term.
GOAL’s prediction for 2022/23
With Haaland no longer at Dortmund and Robert Lewandowski intent on leaving for Barcelona, Haller could be the main man in the division next season.
We are backing him to end the year outscoring everyone owing to the talent around him at the club and the potential absence of two of the league’s top performers in the last few years.
Edin Terzic will hope this takes them closer to FC Hollywood, who ended last year on 77 points, nine higher than Die Borussen, as they hope to supplant the Bavarians domestically.