Berlin: He’s back. Erling Haaland scored on his return from injury for Borussia Dortmund to beat Wolfsburg 3-1 and turn up the pressure on Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich last night.
“Happy to be back doing what I love,” Haaland said on Twitter.
Bayern responded by topping Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 in the late match, but there’s only one point between the teams before Bayern visits Dortmund next weekend for one of the league’s most anticipated games of the season.
Haaland hadn’t played in the Bundesliga since Oct. 16 when he scored twice in a win at Mainz. He played three days later in Dortmund’s loss at Ajax in the Champions League, then dropped out with muscular problems.
Coach Marco Rose delighted Dortmund fans on Friday when he said Haaland may return sooner than originally thought and he followed through by bringing on the Norway forward in the 72nd minute in Wolfsburg.
Haaland promptly drew a save from Wolfsburg goalkeeper Pavao Pervan, then scored in the 81st with an acrobatic finish to Julian Brandt’s cross. It was Haaland’s 50th goal on his 50th Bundesliga appearance.
Haaland became the youngest player to score 50 goals in the Bundesliga (21 years, 129 days) while he scored them in the fewest games. Previous record holder Timo Konietzka needed 63 games to reach the mark, followed by Roy Makaay and Uwe Seeler (67), while the youngest players with 50 goals were previously Klaus Fischer (21 years, 293 days) and Dieter Muller (22 years, 9 days).
“Erling gives you energy,” Dortmund coach Marco Rose said. “He comes in and scores straight away. That’s the difference. We’re happy that he’s back.”
Dortmund was without influential midfielder Jude Bellingham due to a knee injury, but the visitors did well after going behind to a shock early goal.
Wout Weghorst struck in the second minute when he got his chest to Ridle Baku’s cross. It was Wolfsburg’s first goal against Dortmund in 10 league games since Daniel Didavi scored in a 5-1 loss in 2016.
Dortmund equalized through a penalty from Emre Can in the 35th. The spot kick was awarded for a clumsy challenge on Marco Reus by Maxence Lacroix, who was booked.
The Dortmund captain needed treatment on his right ankle but played on to set up Donyell Malen for his second Bundesliga goal in as many games in the 55th. The Dutch forward made way for Haaland to make his seventh Bundesliga appearance of the season. He celebrated with his 10th goal.
Bayern labored for long periods against a defensive-minded Bielefeld team, which earned a 3-3 draw on its previous visit to Munich.
Substitute Jamal Musiala provided the key with a brilliant diagonal pass forward to Thomas Muller, who laid it off straight away for Leroy Sane to strike the winner from outside the penalty area in the 71st.
It ensured Bayern set a record with 102 Bundesliga goals in a calendar year. Cologne had the previous best mark of 101 from 1977.