Connect with us


Sébastien Haller after his comeback: Long since a bonus for Borussia Dortmund



Sébastien Haller after his comeback: Long since a bonus for Borussia Dortmund

Since recovering from his testicular cancer diagnosis, Sébastien Haller has gradually improved at Borussia Dortmund. However, the value of the 28-year-old for BVB cannot currently be seen primarily in his goals.

Three more games and then a memorable season will also be over for Sébastien Haller. Although one could debate whether the word “memorable” is the correct way to describe the football year for him. The shocking testicular cancer diagnosis from last July only fits to a limited extent.

Still, yes, Haller’s first season at Borussia Dortmund is memorable precisely because he defeated that illness. Because he was back on the pitch regularly in 2023, with the exception of one game that he had to sit out due to knee problems (in the Leipzig Cup). And because he has played an enormous part in BVB’s upswing since his comeback.

However, this cannot only be seen from the most important statistics for a striker – even though the 28-year-old is showing better and better values ​​in this respect. He has five goals and three assists in 16 Bundesliga games, which means a goal in every second game and a goal in almost every third. Haller has managed four of these stalls and two assists in the past seven games alone. On average, he is involved in a goal every 122 minutes, only three center forwards are better (Bremen’s Marvin Ducksch and Niclas Füllkrug with 118 and 120 and Stuttgart’s Serhou Guirassy with 121).

If you subtract penalties, Haller is in second place of all center forwards in the Bundesliga this year behind Ducksch (11) with eight direct goals. And this despite the fact that he is only on the field for an average of around 60 minutes per game due to the aftermath of his illness. He has never played through, he got the most minutes in the 2-2 win over Schalke (80).

BVB: Sébastien Haller’s great value can be seen in the goals

A few weeks ago, BVB coach Edin Terzic said that Haller’s decision on the duration of an assignment was always “between freshness and match practice”. In the end, however, he allowed the Ivorian to start 15 of his 19 competitive games for Dortmund, because “Sébastien can only get into top form on the pitch.”

Haller did this gradually, which is all the more remarkable given his history. In the meantime, the first slight criticism of his low goal tally had already surfaced. In his first twelve competitive games there were only one goal and one assist.

“If you think that after just three weeks everything that was six months before is just forgotten, that would be a huge mistake,” Haller countered these allegations. “I’m happy to be here and playing at all. It’s all a bonus for me.”

The bonus has long been visible not only to him, but also to BVB. But you have to look beyond the numbers mentioned, because Haller’s great value for the Westphalians cannot currently be seen primarily in the goals.

BVB: Sébastien Haller’s presence helps Malen and Adeyemi

The newcomer regularly proves his great strengths as a target and wall player that can always be played. Thanks to his good running paths, which open up spaces because they bind opponents, he helps Dortmund’s playing problems, some of which still exist. With Haller up front, BVB will have time to move up and space for fast players like Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen to poke into the holes created by Haller. It’s no coincidence that these two players are turning up the heat in the new year – Haller’s presence has clearly given them a boost.

This point is underscored by two sets of data: Haller won 52 percent of his aerial duels, which is surpassed by only five players among all central forwards with at least 500 minutes of play in 2023. The national player does even better when it comes to successful layoffs, i.e. when passing back into the run of a teammate after receiving the ball with his back to the goal. Haller’s value of 2.2 discards per 90 minutes is only topped by Ludovic Ajorque from Mainz (2.3) of his fellow centre-forwards.

Haller is already playing an essential part in the statics of the Dortmund game. His teammates are now also able to respond to him better and use his dangerousness in the penalty area. In the meantime there was a lack of usable crosses, especially since BVB is not a team that approaches the opposing goal with a large number of crosses.

BVB: This is where Sébastien Haller comes in at the top

However, Haller’s yield in recent weeks shows that the processes with his teammates have been optimized and that they find him more often – which, given his chance conversion of 31 percent, which in the second half of the season was only achieved by Bayern’s Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Mainz’ Marcus Ingvartsen and Wolfsburg Jonas Wind (all 36 percent) is exceeded, also more than makes sense. In the shot accuracy category, i.e. the proportion of unblocked shots that went on goal, Haller even has the best striker value for 2023 at 81 percent.

“We trust him completely. He will become even more important for us,” said sporting director Sebastian Kehl seven weeks ago and was right in his prediction. And this despite the fact that Haller has made noticeable progress, but is still a long way from the strength and energy that characterized his game before the illness.

In football, the supposed law is sometimes invoked, according to which a player needs exactly the same amount of time to get to his top form as he was previously injured. For Haller, this was six months. If this guideline applies to him, BVB should look forward to the new season with confidence.

BVB: Sébastien Haller and his statistics at Borussia Dortmund 2022/23

category Value
BL games 16
minutes 973
Gates 5
templates 3
duels per 90 min. 11.2
Shots on goal per 90 minutes 1.9
exploitation of opportunities 31%
shooting accuracy 81%