2020 Golden Boy Erling Haaland Puts in Career Best Performance Against Hertha Berlin

Erling Haaland
Haaland was on fire in the German capital | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

45 minutes into Borussia Dortmund’s recent trip to the capital to take on Hertha Berlin, it looked far from certain that Lucien Favre’s side would be taking all three points back to western Germany.

Despite their underwhelming start to the season Hertha were playing some lovely stuff. Set up in a refreshingly old school 4-4-2, their front line of Krzysztof Piatek and Dodi Lukebakio were pressing extremely well and a wonder strike from Matheus Cunha had put them 1-0 on the half-hour mark.

Dortmund on the other hand looked sluggish, with star striker Erling Haaland starved of service. The 20-year-old – who has named Golden Boy just hours earlier – touched the ball 14 times and shanked two shots wide.

Haaland endured a challenging first half | ANNEGRET HILSE/Getty Images

However, as he has done so many times before in 2020, Haaland turned on the magic in the second half, producing one of the best performances of his fledgling career. This is quite the feat considering the sort of heroics that he has already performed for Dortmund since arriving from Red Bull Salzburg back in January.

So far he’s scored a 23-minute hat-trick on his debut, grabbed a Champions League last 16 brace against Paris Saint-Germain and singlehandedly put RB Leipzig to the sword to cement his side’s status at Germany’s second club.

If he carries on with the sort of magnificence that he showed in the second half against Hertha then moving BVB to top spot in the Bundesliga could be his next achievement.

Haaland took just over a minute of the second period to grab his first, peeling off Dedryck Boyata cleverly to convert Emre Can’s archetypal ‘corridor of uncertainty’ cross at the the back post. No real celebrations for this one, there was still plenty of work to do.

The second goal was all about his movement. Just two minutes after bagging his first, he exploded across the Hertha defensive line and his intelligent run was rewarded with a delicious reverse pass from Julian Brandt. What came next was pure, unadulterated Haaland™. Taking a second to compose himself and load up his left cannon, he then unleashed an unstoppable shot past Alexander Schwolow from a tight angle to give his side a deserved 2-1 lead.

Little over 10 minutes later, Haaland completed his hat-trick. A horrifically misplaced pass from Marvin Plattenhardt gave the Dortmund frontman a chance to show off his devastating pace. Spotting the error, Haaland latched onto the pass like a flash and was immediately in gazelle-like flow.

He swatted defender Omar Alderete away and did not break stride as he rounded the goalkeeper and tucked the ball away for his third goal.

A hat-trick on the day you were named best young male player on the planet probably would have been enough for most players but not Haaland. The Norway international added a fourth just seconds after Cunha has grabbed his second of the game from the penalty spot.

Erling Haaland
His teammates appreciated Haaland’s fine display | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Haaland showed great balance and power to shrug off several Hertha players before playing a delayed one-two with substitute Jude Bellingham. The England international’s return pass afforded his teammate a clear sight of goal inside the box. After that, there was only ever going to be one result and, as expected, Haaland delivered a clinical left-footed finish.

The goal capped a truly ridiculous display. At points, Haaland resembled that annoying older brother who had no friends his own age so had to ruin your childhood kickabouts by being taller, stronger and faster than everyone else. At others, it was though he was some kind of Frankenstein’s monster, forged in a laboratory from body parts of all the greatest strikers of the last 30 years.

He has now managed 15 goals in 12 games for Dortmund this season and would be Bundesliga top scorer if not for the equally incredible feats of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski. If Haaland can keep up anything near this level of form, his potential career goal return is a truly terrifying thought.

In the short term, a player of his otherworldly talent means Dortmund are only ever a split second of magic away from a goal. If anyone can stop a Bayern procession to another Bundesliga title, Haaland’s Dortmund can.