Haaland back in action

BERLIN (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland is expected to make an eagerly awaited return from injury as his side look to battle back into the Bundesliga top four with a win over high-fliers Wolfsburg tomorrow (11.30pm Brunei time).

The prolific Norwegian prodigy has missed the last four league games and the last seven in all competitions after picking up a hamstring injury in early December.

Yet the 20-year-old returned to team training this week, and Dortmund Sporting Director Michael Zorc confirmed that he would be back in action this weekend.

“Erling’s recovery has gone well. We are working on the assumption that he can play against Wolfsburg,” said Zorc.

Haaland’s return is timely, with his side in desperate need of a win after a miserable run of form before the holiday saw them drop to fifth in the table, eight points behind leaders Bayern Munich and two behind Sunday’s opponents Wolfsburg.

Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland. PHOTO: AFP

Dortmund sacked coach Lucien Favre after they were thrashed by promoted side Stuttgart in mid-December, before suffering a shock away defeat to minnows Union Berlin in their second game under caretaker boss Edin Terzic.

Defeat to Wolfsburg would see Dortmund lose four home league games in a row for the first time in 20 years.

“The most important thing is that we start well and end well,” said Haaland, who has scored 17 goals in 14 games in all competitions this season.

In a season squashed by the coronavirus pandemic, many Bundesliga clubs have had just a week off in the shortest winter break in the league’s history.

Yet after their pre-holiday cup tie was postponed until January, champions Bayern have had an extra week to recover and are expected to waltz past struggling Mainz and defend their two-point lead at the top of the table.

Second from bottom and without a win in six games, Mainz parted ways with both their coach and sporting director over the holiday. Huddersfield boss Jan Siewert will take the reins as interim coach against Bayern.

There has also been a changing of the guard at bottom club Schalke, where new coach Christian Gross will take charge of his first game away to Hertha Berlin.