After Erling Haaland twisted his ankle in Saturday’s thrashing of Bournemouth, there was scepticism about risking him towards Younger Boys forward of a troublesome run beginning with a visit to Chelsea on Sunday within the Premier League, stay on Sky Sports activities.
However Haaland, who was second behind Lionel Messi at this yr’s Ballon d’Or awards, is pondering of a a lot greater image when he applies the strain on Pep Guardiola to let him play.
After ending because the Champions League’s high scorer in two of the final three seasons, he is aware of simply what’s required to take residence that prize. He did not wish to miss the possibility so as to add to his tally towards one of many weaker groups within the competitors.
Haaland did not waste his likelihood, both, scoring twice to take his tally to 39 Champions League targets in 34 video games. At simply 23, he can already set his sights on Cristiano Ronaldo’s file of 140.
The Norway striker wants 102 targets to surpass Ronaldo which, at his present fee, would take 89 extra video games. There is a lengthy technique to go, however Haaland is on his method.
Eyebrows have been raised when Eddie Howe named his Newcastle workforce for the 2-0 loss at Dortmund. Miguel Almiron and Anthony Gordon – two of the 4 attacking gamers out there at his disposal – named on the bench had little sense to it.
Sure, the Magpies boss has to rotate his injury-hit squad sooner or later: Howe naming eight substitutes out of a doable 9 reveals how fragile this Newcastle workforce is depth-wise. However certainly the sport to rotate was not the Champions League group sport the place defeat leaves qualification out of your fingers.
In rotating so closely, Howe gave Lewis Corridor and Tino Livramento their full Champions League debuts – and each Dortmund targets exploited this inexperience. Corridor, booked after 9 minutes, might solely permit Marcel Sabitzer to float by him and cross for Niclas Fullkrug’s opener.
And Livramento, who impressed going forwards, couldn’t get shut sufficient to Julian Brandt for the second on the break.
Bringing Almiron and Gordon on for the second half did enhance Newcastle in Germany, however such enchancment will go away the Magpies pondering ‘what if’. Howe’s makes an attempt to preserve and rotate didn’t repay this time.
The size of the duty that Newcastle have been dealing with in Dortmund shouldn’t be underestimated. That crushing 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich suffered by Edin Terzic’s workforce was an anomaly. Dortmund at the moment are unbeaten of their different 27 residence video games since August of final yr.
Each managers made three modifications to their groups from the weekend however that was the place the similarities ended. Terzic was capable of introduce Niklas Sule, Felix Nmecha and Karim Adeyemi – three of Dortmund’s most spectacular performers on the night time.
Livramento and Corridor had solely began within the Carabao Cup this season previous to being thrown in right here. Livramento did properly but it surely was powerful for Corridor. He was hooked at half-time. When Newcastle introduced on Lewis Miley, Dortmund turned to Marco Reus.
If there’s a query for Terzic and his workforce, it’s whether or not a psychological block now exists towards their nice Bundesliga rivals. This was the form of front-foot show one expects of Dortmund inside their very own stadium. They have been meek by comparability towards Bayern on Saturday.
Dortmund have misplaced 9 of their final 10 towards them now. It may not be decisive in a title race however progressing deep within the Champions League calls for besting the most effective. Regardless of their superb file, and nights like this, Terzic’s Dortmund nonetheless want to indicate they will try this.
It was an evening of distress for Celtic in Madrid as Atletico taught them a painful lesson after that they had a participant despatched off for the third time on this season’s marketing campaign.
The Champions League is unforgiving and, though Daizen Maeda’s crimson card was harsh, it seems to be the identical errors on repeat for the Hoops.
Celtic have been unfortunate at occasions however their failure to select up multiple level will not be merely all the way down to that.
Is it merely the gulf at school or is a few of it psychological?
Brendan Rodgers managed to win away within the Champions League throughout his first spell in cost, however shedding Jota and Carl Starfelt simply after his return to the membership has not helped this season.
Solely main funding within the squad will see the Scottish Champions decide up spectacular wins, like that well-known victory over Barcelona precisely 11 years in the past.