Haaland sub to protect Dortmund star ahead of Champions League action

By Sports Desk March 06, 2021

Erling Haaland was only substituted as a precaution in Borussia Dortmund's 4-2 Klassiker defeat to Bayern Munich, interim coach Edin Terzic said.

Superstar striker Haaland looked to have set BVB on course to a fine victory when he netted twice in the opening nine minutes at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

Those efforts took his tally against Bayern this season to four goals across all competitions, the most in matches with the Bavarian giants over the course of a single campaign since Cristiano Ronaldo netted five in 2016-17.

But by the time Haaland made way after 60 minutes, nursing a cut to his ankle, Bayern were back level.

Robert Lewandowski scored twice before the break and then, following Haaland's departure, a crucial, controversial Leon Goretzka volley preceded the home forward's hat-trick goal.

Images of Haaland wincing in pain on the bench were unlikely to lift the mood among Dortmund supporters, already unable to watch Jadon Sancho following a muscle injury in midweek.

Yet Terzic said Haaland, now with 19 league goals to his name at a rate of one every 84 minutes this term, was merely being protected.

BVB host Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday, aiming to protect a 3-2 first-leg advantage, with Haaland set to start for the 28th time this season.

"He played a very good game," Terzic said. "He got a little kick, but that wasn't the problem.

"He's been playing every game for weeks; we've got to protect him a little bit. We expect him to be able to play against Sevilla."

Haaland's double took him to 32 Bundesliga goals across 34 matches this season and last.

Uwe Seeler is the only player in the history of the competition to score more often in his first 34 appearances (33).

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    Bayern Munich star Thomas Muller forthrightly blamed his side's first-leg result for their "very disappointing" Champions League exit at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain.

    Champions League holders Bayern won 1-0 in the quarter-final second leg in Paris on Tuesday, but were knocked out on away goals after losing 3-2 in Munich.

    Muller said the disappointment was big as he bemoaned Bayern's inability to take their chances when they had them against last season's runner-up PSG.

    "We didn't do ourselves any favours with the first leg result," Muller told Sky Germany. "The disappointment is big."

    Bayern are the third consecutive reigning Champions League winners to fail to reach at least the semi-final stage the following season in the competition, something that has not happened since four successive teams failed between 2004-05 and 2007-8 (Porto, Liverpool, Barcelona and Milan).

    Muller added: "We scored one goal too few to advance. The course of the game was different from Munich. We didn't have so much pressure in the early stages.

    "We then had the situation we wanted and scored the goal just before half-time. We had a few chances just before half-time that we didn't take for different reasons.

    "In the second half, the effort was always there, but the game was very disjointed. In the end, Paris has a great offence, but it's very disappointing that we got eliminated even though we won in Paris."

    Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer reiterated that sentiment, ruing their first-leg defeat at home to the Ligue 1 champions.

    Hansi Flick's Bayern mustered 45 shots over their two clashes with PSG – the joint-most any team managed against an opponent in two games in the Champions League this season (level with Sevilla against Krasnodar).

    "It was not just because of today," Neuer said. "The 1-0 was deserved, but the result last week was not good enough.

    "It's annoying, especially if you look at the first game, where we missed many chances and conceded one or two goals too many.

    "All the players not here today were missed. It's difficult when you play against such a great team then. Still, we had a top team on the pitch that gave it everything."

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    PSG advanced to the semi-finals for the second successive season on away goals after the blockbuster tie ended 3-3 following Tuesday's 1-0 loss at home to Bayern.

    Ligue 1 champions PSG exacted some revenge after moving through to the final four, having lost last season's decider to Bayern.

    PSG will face either Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund in the semis, while Chelsea are set to meet the winner of the Liverpool-Real Madrid clash.

    Pochettino, though, dismissed the idea that PSG are the main contender to win the Champions League this season.

    "I don't think so," Pochettino told reporters when asked if PSG are favourites. "We have beat Barcelona in last 16 in two games, we have beat Bayern now in two games too.

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    PSG's elimination of Bayern is the first instance in Champions League history of the previous season's losing finalists eliminating the holders in the knockout stages.

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