When the “bull from Jæren” starts blindly in the back room, the defenders tremble. Erling Braut Haaland (20) is the best of the best at taking advantage of opportunities in 2020.
Forget Karim Benzema, Jamie Vardy, Lionel Messi and Timo Werner. One star striker after another must see himself crushed by the man who on Sunday scored his first hat trick for the Norwegian national team.
– It is unusual that such a young player has such high efficiency, and this is reflected in the numbers. There are no young people who are close to him, says VG’s football expert Tor-Kristian Karlsen, who has worked as sports director in Monaco and Israeli Maccabi Haifa.
Karlsen points out that efficiency usually comes after players have passed 22-23 years. This does not apply to Haaland.
He is passionate after his three goals against Romania and six goals in as many international matches. He has also opened the Bundesliga with four goals in three games and thus still at the same pace as in the spring season for Borussia Dortmund.
Behind the success lies a unique ability to make the best of the opportunities that arise. VG has looked at the effectiveness of all strikers in league matches in 2020 in the so-called “top 5” leagues, the English, Spanish, German, Italian and French.
For players with more than ten goals, it looks like this, considering the number of goals per end and the number of goals per game:
Haaland scores on almost every other opportunity he gets, and with an utilization rate of almost 50 percent, he is in a class of his own. He is also not far from the top in terms of goals per 90 minutes; there are only Atalanta’s Luis Muriel and Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski sharper.
– He is extremely effective despite the fact that he has a playing style that is fast, breakthrough enthusiasm, rawness and physical strength. Finishing properties are usually not associated with those characteristics. It’s quite unusual – especially for such a young player. Impressive numbers, Karlsen states.
But Haaland himself is not always as happy. Against Romania he could actually double the number of goals if he had taken advantage of several huge opportunities.
– It’s nice, but at the same time I would like to have more goals. I hope that in the future I can score on all my chances, Braut Haaland himself told TV 2 after the match, when he was asked to characterize his own performance.
Lars Lagerbäck paints the following picture of what qualities make Haaland the biggest nightmare for defensive players in Football Europe at the moment: