New signing Sebastien Haller should give BVB one thing above all in the coming season: goals. But before he could really get started, he now faces a long break. Borussia Dortmund is suddenly faced with unexpected problems.
BVB put 31 million euros on the table for Sebastien Haller and thus increased its expenses this summer to almost 90 million euros – with income of just over 60 million euros.
A confirmation of the new philosophy under sports director Sebastian Kehl, who wants to start a serious attack on the reign of FC Bayern (ten championship titles in a row) with his transfer offensive. However, this attack will probably have to take place without Haller for some time.
The Ivorian, who has just returned to the Bundesliga after three years at West Ham United and Ajax Amsterdam, was diagnosed with a horror on Monday: a tumor in his testicles.
During the morning training session, he was still complaining about being unwell and, as BVB initially reported, had to miss the friendly against FC Valencia (1:3) due to illness. Shortly after the game then the shock. Haller immediately left the training camp in Bad Ragaz for his new home in the Ruhr area and will undergo further examinations in a specialized medical center in the coming days.
“Of course we are all in shock,” said Managing Director Hans-Joachim Watzke SID: “Our thoughts are with Sebastien and his family. The most important thing now is that he gets well again.”
In a press release shortly before, Kehl promised the “best possible treatment” for Haller, for whom football should initially become a minor matter. He himself was confident on Tuesday. But one thing is clear: difficult weeks await him – maybe even months. If the tumor, which could also be benign, turns out to be cancerous, it could even lead to chemotherapy.
Testicular tumor: Haller is already the third case in a very short time
In the past few months, Timo Baumgartl from Union Berlin and Marco Richter from Hertha BSC had already been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Haller is the third prominent case in the Bundesliga in a very short time.
The disease generally occurs in younger men in particular. At the age of around 30 years, it is statistically proven to be the most common form of cancer – according to the Robert Koch Institute, a total of around 4200 people, which accounts for 1.6 percent of all cancers, are affected by testicular cancer every year.
In most cases, this is genetic or a congenital abnormality. But light skin, a height of over 1.95 meters (Haller is 1.90 meters tall) or doping are also possible causes. However, the latter has not yet been medically proven.
For BVB, Haller’s absence means a new major construction site in any case. In addition to the bloated squad, the runner-up now has another problem to solve. Dortmund is again – if only for the time being – without a real replacement for Erling Haaland, who has migrated to Manchester City. Even if Haller does not see himself as this (“An inheritance makes me tired”). There is only one other “real” center striker available for Black and Yellow: Youssoufa Moukoko.
However, the homegrown is still only 17 years old. In addition, Moukoko has been plagued by thoughts of leaving since the sobering season under coach Marco Rose. Under Rose, he had mostly come only for short assignments. The once celebrated child prodigy only managed 210 Bundesliga minutes in total. Moukoko was also plagued by a few injuries, but even when he was in good shape he seemed to have had a difficult time.
BVB: Haller representation? Moukoko fuels hope
Moukoko’s contract runs until 2023, and BVB is said to be pushing for a timely decision. A free transfer would be a financial fiasco given the undoubted talent. With Terzic, however, Moukoko has his old sponsor at his side again. Between December 2020 and June 2021, he increasingly relied on Moukoko’s services and thus helped him to make his Bundesliga debut. Responsive performances were the result.
And Terzic still seems to remember that. In the first test game of the preparation against Verl, Moukoko was allowed to play right away and promptly demonstrated his qualities with a brace. “Youssoufa moved very well today, rewarded himself with the two goals, always had good actions,” said Terzic after the game: “We don’t just measure our strikers by how many goals they score, but how important they are for the crew are.”
Moukoko started again against Valencia. Although he didn’t score a goal this time, he was still able to convince. Again and again he brought dynamic into the game and tore holes for his teammates. His body language also showed that under Terzic he sensed a chance to play significantly more minutes than under Rose – and can probably expect this.
In the training camp, Bradley Fink (19) from Haller’s second team takes his place: Terzic confirmed on Monday that the young striker from Dortmund has traveled to Germany.
BVB: Alternative Adeyemi and rethinking Hazard?
Terzic has another alternative in Karim Adeyemi. To speak of a classic nine for the national player would be factually wrong. It was not for nothing that Borussia once again spent money on a striker with Haller’s commitment.
The style of play of the new signing from RB Salzburg is more like that of a link between an attacking midfield and a striker. His core competencies lie in dribbling, his explosive acceleration and his eye for space – Adeyemi seems to be best on the right wing in the 4-2-3-1 system favored by Terzic. Or just on Haller’s side in a double storm. With Moukoko still an unpredictable element despite his regained feel-good factor, he may now have to prove himself to be the sole front runner from time to time.
That could also reopen the door for Thorgan Hazard, who is reportedly a potential sell-off along with Nico Schulz, Manuel Ajanji and Emre Can. The Belgian scores above all with his versatility. So he can act on both flanks and in the middle. Under Rose, he was occasionally even allowed to go to the front when Haaland was unwell. Because it’s noisy table football If there are currently no concrete offers for Hazard anyway, there could be a rethink among those responsible for BVB.
With the concern for Haller, the immense pressure that automatically comes with the transfer offensive has reduced on BVB with a view to the duel with FC Bayern. However, the work involved is not. But on the contrary.
Sebastien Haller: Performance data since moving to Frankfurt