Dortmund, Inter bank on ace striking forces

Saturday January 18 2020

New striker Haaland’s contract with

New striker Haaland’s contract with Dortmund runs until 2024 whereas Lukaku (inset is still put at Inter Milan. AGENCIES PHOTO 

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus believes that with new signing Erling Haaland in their squad, BVB can play a way they haven’t been able to since the days of Robert Lewandowski at the Signal Iduna Park.

Reus believes that Dortmund have a No.9 with the strength, size and stature that reminds him of his former Polish teammate who has gone on to become one of the greatest Bundesliga’s goal scorers of all-time.

The only difference is that Haaland, who has scored 16 goals in 14 appearances in Austria’s top division this season and a further eight in the Champions League group stage, the second most in the competition for Red Bull Salzburg, is wearing the No.17.

“I don’t think we’ve had that kind of striker since Robert Lewandowski,” Reus told Sky Germany ahead of their visit to Augsburg. “He [Haaland] gives us the option to be more flexible and to play in different systems and styles.

“He’s a very open guy. First of all, it’s important to get to know him. He gives us another way of playing and we have to be able to work with him, too, and bring out all his strengths. But that will all come about in time.”

It’s now almost six years since Lewandowski left Dortmund for Bayern Munich and the black-and-yellows have employed many strikers in an attempt to replicate the Pole’s incredible goal scoring prowess.

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The likes of Adrian Ramos, Ciro Immobile and Michy Batshuayi have all been and gone as Dortmund’s style of play has been chopped and changed since the days of Jürgen Klopp’s heavy metal football.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored 98 Bundesliga goals for Dortmund but brought with him a totally different style to that of Lewandowski, using his speed to get him in the right place at the right time more often than not.

GERMAN BUNDESLIGA

TODAY, JANUARY 18
Augsburg vs. Dortmund, 5.30PM
Koln vs. Wolfsburg, 5.30PM
Hoffenheim vs. Frankfurt, 5.30PM
Mainz vs. Freiburg, 5.30PM
Fortuna vs. Bremen, 5.30PM
Leipzig vs. Union Berlin, 8.30PM
TOMORROW, JANUARY 19
Hertha Berlin vs. Bayern, 5.30PM
Paderborn vs. Leverkusen, 8PM

If anyone is going to stop Juventus’ recent dominance in Italian football, then it’s Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan.

After spending most of the 2010s sitting in Serie A obscurity, whilst watching their Derby d’Italia rivals lift Scudetto after Scudetto in recent years, Inter are threatening to return to the big time and are acting as the Old Lady’s closest title challengers in years.

Coach Antonio Conte is a Serie A winner himself as both as a player and a manager, the former Chelsea boss appears to be leaning on his experience as a Premier League coach much more than as a serial winner in Italian football.

That’s because Conte, whose side visits Lecces on Sunday, is trying to assemble an Inter Milan side filled with ex-Premier League talent from front to back.

Inter’s front two during the Cagliari win - Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez - are familiar faces to both each other and to English audiences.

So far, Lukaku’s time at the San Siro has been nothing short of a rip-roaring success with 18 goals in 25 appearances so far this campaign. Sanchez has found his Inter Milan experience slightly more problematic with recurring ankle injuries, making only five appearances.
The Italian coach will be hoping for more from Sanchez whose competition for a striker spot could be made even more challenging should Olivier Giroud complete a move to the San Siro this month.

ITALIAN SERIE A
TODAY, JANUARY 18
Lazio vs. Sampdoria (SS9, 5PM)
Sassuolo vs. Torino (SS9, 8PM)
Napoli vs. Fiorentina (SS9, 10.45PM)
TOMORROW, JANUARY 19
Milan vs. Udinese (SS9, 2.30PM)
Lecce vs. Inter (SS9, 5PM)
Genoa vs. Roma (SS9, 8PM)
Juventus vs. Parma (SS9, 10.45PM)


FRENCH LIGUE 1
The president of French football giants Marseille, Jacques-Henri Eyraud, said this week that he would start police proceedings over a death threat on social media.

Eyraud is often whistled at the Velodrome and insulted on social media by Marseille fans.
The latest threat came after coach Andre Villas-Boas, who is popular with fans, gave a press conference on Wednesday afternoon in which he repeated that he did not want the club sell any players in the winter transfer window.

And not that Marseille is doing badly. After last Friday’s 1-0 away win against Stade Rennes temporarily cut the gap behind the league leaders PSG to just five points before the latter defeated Monaco 4-1 this week.

PSG has 49 points from 20 outings, eight points clear of Marseille. Marseille boss André Villas-Boas now wants his side - who have now won nine of an unbeaten run of ten in all competitions and have an eight-point lead over Rennes in third - to do better when they host tenth-placed Angers on Sunday.

SPANISH LA LIGA
Real Madrid will be looking to continue their perfect start to 2020, but will face a stern test against former boss Julen Lopetegui’s Sevilla side.

It’s second against fourth in La Liga on Saturday evening, as Real Madrid welcome Sevilla to the Santiago Bernabeu. After a winning start to 2020, Zidane will be focusing to overhaul rivals Barcelona and win a first league title since the 2016-17 season.

Since returning to the Real Madrid dugout in November, Zidane has overseen an undefeated streak stretching back thirteen games in all competitions. Whilst the run has seen frustrating draws against Valencia and Atletic Bilbao, Los Blancos fans will be largely pleased with how their side has matched Barcelona every step of the way so far.

With their feted rivals recently changing managers and only being in second place due to goal difference this could be the ideal moment for Los Blancos to take a decisive step in the title race.

In team news, Real Madrid will be without leading goal scorer Karim Benzema who is out with a hamstring complaint. In more positive news Gareth Bale has recovered from illness and is in contention to play a part against Sevilla.

TODAY, JANUARY 18
Levante vs. Alaves (SS7, 3PM)
Real vs. Sevilla (SS7, 6PM)
Osasuna vs. Valladolid (SS7, 8.30PM)
Eibar vs. Atletico (SS7, 10.45PM)
TOMORROW, JANUARY 19
Mallorca vs. Valencia (SS7, 2PM)
Betis vs. Sociedad (SS7, 4PM)
Villarreal vs. Espanyol (SS7, 6PM)
Bilbao vs. C Vigo (SS7, 8.30PM)
Barcelona vs. Granada (SS7, 11PM)

dkyeyune@ug.nationmedia.com

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