Saturday, March 2, 2024
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Dortmund hope for Haaland return to keep pressure on Bayern

BERLIN (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund hope to have Norwegian star Erling Haaland back for tomorrow’s game with struggling Augsburg and could end the weekend with the gap between them and Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich down to three points.

Dortmund’s reason to be optimistic about this scenario is despite them being infuriatingly inconsistent this season, Bayern’s form has also faltered of late.

A shock 4-2 defeat by lowly VfL Bochum was followed by Bayern requiring a late equaliser in their Champions League last 16 first leg match with RB Salzburg, and a below par performance despite the 4-1 scoreline against bottom side Greuther Fuerth last weekend.

Dortmund go into tomorrow’s game on the back of a 6-0 thumping of Borussia Moenchengladbach but typically in their campaign this term came days after being soundly beaten by Rangers in their Europa League play-off first leg clash.

Haaland missed Thursday’s second leg with the Scottish side – the fifth match he sat out due to his groin injury – despite returning to training with the reserves at the beginning of the week.

“He still needs a little more time,” explained Dortmund coach Marco Rose.

“He is trying to get back to full fitness, he is making huge efforts, but he is still a fair bit away from being 100 per cent.

“His groin injury has improved a bit. He has to be 100 per cent without pain to be able to play.”

The leaders face a potentially tricky trip today to mid-table Eintracht Frankfurt – although they have lost their last two – and without Thomas Mueller, who has contracted COVID-19 for a second time.

A positive bit of news for Bayern is Mueller’s fellow World Cup winning team-mate goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has returned to training after his knee operation but his deputy Sven Ullreich will continue in goal today.

Dortmund’s Erling Haaland attends a training session. PHOTO: AP