Erling Haaland's competitive nature means he shows signs of frustration even in training, a mentality that has impressed Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre.

Haaland has enjoyed a remarkable start to life at Dortmund following his January arrival from Salzburg in a reported €20million transfer.

The Norwegian striker has already scored eight times in just five Bundesliga matches and 11 in seven in all for his new club.

The 19-year-old stunned Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday, scoring both of Dortmund's goals in their 2-1 first-leg victory at Signal Iduna Park.

That brace took him to 10 Champions League goals in fewer games than any other player in history, having incredibly netted eight times in six group-stage appearances with Salzburg before the turn of the year.

Favre is unsurprisingly delighted with the teenager's impact and shed light on his mentality, with Haaland seemingly taking training just as seriously as matches.

"It's great what he is doing," Favre told reporters on Thursday, as Dortmund prepare for Saturday's trip to Werder Bremen.

"As I have already said, he has a great mentality and always wants to look ahead. He always wants to train.

"When we play during training and he is losing or not scoring, he is not happy at all. This is very, very positive.

"We know what he is capable of, you [the media] realised this, too."

Haaland is by no means the only young player to be impressing at Dortmund currently, however. Gio Reyna - son of former Bayer Leverkusen, Rangers and Manchester City midfielder Claudio - has also caught the eye of late.

The 17-year-old has made seven appearances for the first team, scoring once, and was influential off the bench against PSG, his darting run and well-placed pass setting up Haaland's stunning winner.

For Favre, the English-born American's ability is obvious.

"We have kept out eye on Gio for a long time," Favre added. "He was with us in the US [during Dortmund's pre-season training camp] training and has been in [full first-team] training several times.

"If you don't see his quality, you're blind. He is very clever, very intelligent. Bit by bit, he has to be playing more, or he has to play from the beginning.

"Of course, at 17, he still has a lot ahead of him and can make great progress, but he already has a great mindset."

Borussia Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre lauded Erling Haaland after his record-breaking performance in the Champions League.

Haaland made history with his quick-fire second-half brace as Dortmund defeated Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the opening leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old striker became the fastest player to score 10 goals in Champions League history, reaching the feat in just his seventh appearance.

Haaland shattered records on his Champions League debut for Dortmund and Favre lauded the Norway international, who only arrived from Salzburg in January.

"He defended well with the others," Favre told reporters post-game. "He also stood very compactly in combination with the other players. It helped us that he also defended. He did that very, very well.

"If we have the possibility to combine with him, then we will do that. Either with balls into the depth or he gets the ball and holds it for now. He did that very well.

"Before the 2-1 it is a great pass from Giovanni Reyna. The ball was very good, but it was especially so good because Haaland moved well."

Among the records, Haaland – at 19 years and 212 days – is the second youngest player to reach 10 goals in the Champions League, behind PSG star Kylian Mbappe (18y, 360d).

Haaland, who turned down a January move to Premier League giants Manchester United, has scored 11 goals in his first seven games in all competitions for Dortmund – no other player from a Bundesliga side has ever achieved that feat.

He also became the first Dortmund player to score on his debut in the Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB-Pokal, as his remarkable season continued.

Lucien Favre says Borussia Dortmund cannot afford to focus all their attention on Neymar as the world's most expensive player prepares to return to the Paris Saint-Germain team on Tuesday.

Neymar has been out of action since suffering a rib injury against Montpellier on February 1 but, alongside Kylian Mbappe, who missed the weekend draw at Amiens, he was named in the PSG squad for their Champions League last-16 first leg at Dortmund.

The Brazil international has made just a single appearance for PSG in the knockout stages of Europe's elite competition since joining in 2017, with injuries curtailing his campaigns as the Ligue 1 giants suffered consecutive last-16 defeats.

But Neymar also played only twice in this season's group stage as Thomas Tuchel's men topped the table and defeated Real Madrid.

Favre is therefore well aware of the other threats PSG might pose at Signal Iduna Park, including World Cup winner Mbappe, who scored three goals against Dortmund for Monaco in the 2016-17 quarter-finals.

"All the players have great qualities at PSG, but they have won against Madrid without him [Neymar]," Favre told a pre-match news conference on Monday.

"Neymar is very, very good, but there is also Mbappe or [Angel] Di Maria. I could count 10 players.

"They have high qualities in winning the ball and going forward very quickly. You play with counter-pressing, but you can also wait to counter."

Dortmund have quality of their own, though, and are boosted by the January arrival of Erling Haaland, who has nine goals in six games since joining from Salzburg.

Haaland netted eight times in the Champions League for Salzburg in the first half of the campaign, and Favre is optimistic the 19-year-old can continue this outstanding form against PSG.

"He adapted very quickly and showed his strengths: his strength and his running," Favre said. "He always wants to develop, even in training. He has a great mentality.

"He has already taken a great path here, even though he is only 19 years old. It's different in Dortmund than in Salzburg, of course, but he also played in the Champions League and scored goals there. I hope he does the same with us."

Dortmund and PSG have had trouble in defence in recent weeks, the Bundesliga side conceding four at Bayer Leverkusen on February 8 while the French champions let in the same number at Amiens in an epic draw on Saturday.

An exciting attacking encounter is therefore anticipated, but Favre – who will be without midfielder Julian Brandt – would be happy to see a tighter affair.

"I prefer to see a nice game, but sometimes a nice game is about good defensive play," he said. "Sometimes I have nothing against winning 1-0 or playing a 0-0.

"If there is an offensive style of play, people are happy – but not always the coaches."

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland must still convince Lucien Favre of his match fitness despite a sensational start to life in Germany.

Haaland arrived at Signal Iduna Park from RB Salzburg last month, billed as one of the hottest properties in European football, and the teenage striker has certainly not disappointed.

He scored a hat-trick from the bench to inspire a 5-3 comeback win over Augsburg on debut and followed that with a brace in a 5-1 rout of Cologne.

The Norway international was at the double once more on his first start, with Union Berlin dismissed 5-0, although he was a substitute once more for the DFB-Pokal tie at Werder Bremen in midweek.

Naturally, Haaland scored after his introduction, although BVB fell to a 3-2 defeat.

Asked whether he regretted not starting the in-form forward, Favre kept his sights trained on the bigger picture at a Thursday news conference.

"As I said, I am the first one to [know whether to] let him play from the beginning," he said.

"You don't know his fitness like I do. So, we have to be careful. We have to be reasonable.

"Of course, I would like to let him play all games, but we still have to be careful with him sometimes.

"He is 19 years old and I speak about the pre-season and old injuries. We have to be reasonable."

Favre's hand might be forced, however, given his forward line will be without Marco Reus when they travel to face Bayer Leverkusen this weekend. 

"Unfortunately, Marco is injured now. It happened in the last minute. I am very sorry for him," said Favre, with his captain set for a four-week spell on the sidelines due to a muscular complaint that will cause him to miss the Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain on February 18.

"But Marco is still very important and will be important for the team. There are several options how to replace him, but it depends on the system. Today it’s still not decided."

Emre Can, a deadline-day arrival on an initial loan from Juventus, made a substitute cameo against Werder and could make his league debut for Dortmund against old employers Leverkusen.

"We have to see him in training, how he feels. He did not play a lot [at Juventus this season]," Favre added.

"He made a good impression yesterday. The training was very long and intense. He did very well.

"He has to show in training what he is able to do. We know he can play as a defender with a back three but also in the midfield as six or eight, also in a 4-3-3.

"We will see because right now I cannot tell you exactly."

Borussia Dortmund teenager Gio Reyna became the youngest scorer in DFB-Pokal history on Tuesday.

Reyna, 17, made history with his stunning solo goal as Dortmund bowed out of the competition following a 3-2 third-round loss to Werder Bremen.

The American sensation – a second-half substitute –received the ball outside of the penalty area and weaved past two opponents before curling a shot into the top corner of the net.

Reyna's 78th-minute strike had made it 3-2 away to Bremen, who raced to a 2-0 lead prior to fellow teenager Erling Haaland taking his tally to eight goals in four matches since joining Dortmund.

Haaland's 67th-minute effort had given Dortmund hope until Bremen restored their two-goal advantage three minutes later.

''The first-half performance was poor. We were lacking tempo in our play. We seemed to be late to every ball and come out worse in every tackle," said Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre.

"Getting knocked out is very disappointing for all of us. It's a real shame. We had three or four big chances towards the end and could well have ended up achieving our objective.''

Dortmund defender Mats Hummels added: ''We didn't have enough depth in our play in the first half, which is something we need if we want to find spaces in behind. This made it easy for Werder and, when you add our defensive errors in the build-up to their goals, it meant we gave them the initiative in the match.

"It was far from a vintage performance from us tonight, but we didn't play all that badly either. We had enough chances to find an equaliser. I thought the result was fair overall. Congratulations to Werder.'' 

Erling Haaland is in contention to start in Borussia Dortmund's clash with Cologne on Friday but head coach Lucien Favre said the club's new striker must "keep working on his basic endurance".

The €20million signing from Salzburg scored three goals on his debut as Dortmund came from behind to beat Augsburg 5-3 on Saturday and Favre said there is a chance Haaland could break into a team that started with Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard in attack last time out.

Prior to his 34-minute appearance against Augsburg, Haaland had not played a competitive game since Salzburg's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool on December 10 and Favre reminded those calling for him to play from the start against Cologne that he is short of fitness.

"Erling Haaland made a great impression," Favre told reporters. "He always trains at full throttle, he always wants to win.

"If he misses a chance to score, he gets angry. It's great to train players like this - it's good for everyone.

"But he hasn't trained for a long time. He has to keep working on his basic endurance. We should not forget that.

"He is focused on his tasks, he is always in a good mood. He offers a reference point for the midfield. But he is only 19 years old."

Gio Reyna also made his Bundesliga debut against Augsburg, coming on as a substitute for Hazard in the 72nd minute, and Favre tipped the 17-year-old midfielder to push for a regular first-team place in future.

Reyna joined Dortmund from New York City and has made 11 appearances for the Yellow and Black Under-19s this season, scoring four goals.

"In training you can see that Gio Reyna has something special," said Favre.

"If you can't see that, you're blind. At 17, he does everything very well.

"If he continues to play at this level, he will make great strides."

Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre will make a late call on whether to hand Erling Haaland a Bundesliga debut at Augsburg this weekend.

Dortmund beat off interest from a host of heavyweight European clubs to land the 19-year-old striker last month, paying a release clause of €22.5million to Salzburg.

Haaland netted 28 goals in 22 appearances for the Austrian champions this season but Favre conceded to concerns over his match fitness after missing the start of Dortmund's mid-season training camp.

"As I said, we'll see. Now, I can't say," Favre told reporters.

"But he didn't train from December 10 until the end of December. At the beginning of our training camp in Marbella he didn't train, too.

"The time for the preparation was also really short. But yesterday he ran a lot and it was okay."

Favre might be tempted not to rush Haaland with club captain Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard set to bolster his frontline, having returned from their respective muscular injuries.

"The injured players trained a lot. Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard trained every day," Favre added.

"They were every day here. We'll see if they can play.

"In terms of injury, Marcel Schmelzer can't play on Saturday, Tobias Raschl didn't train this week and Thomas Delaney can't play, too."

Dortmund sit fourth in an intriguingly poised Bundesliga table, three points behind champions Bayern Munich and seven shy of leaders RB Leipzig at the halfway stage.

Lucien Favre vented his frustration after Borussia Dortmund suffered another collapse as their Bundesliga title hopes were dealt a blow.

Andrej Kramaric's 87th-minute goal completed a late comeback for hosts Hoffenheim, who stunned stuttering Dortmund 2-1 on Friday.

Dortmund played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig on Tuesday after squandering a 2-0 first-half lead.

Favre's Dortmund – fourth in the standings and four points off the pace – looked set to bounce back in their final match of 2019 thanks to Mario Gotze's 17th-minute opener.

But Dortmund came unstuck again as Sargis Adamyan equalised in the 79th minute before Hoffenheim star Kramaric struck with three minutes of normal time remaining.

"We dominated the game," Dortmund head coach Favre told reporters. "We were leading 1-0 and had more possession. We played too complicated and lost too many balls. But we had clear scoring chances.

"In the second half we can make it 2-0, 3-0, within five minutes. But we don't make it, we miss big scoring chances. I just saw another situation where we could have crossed and two players from Dortmund were completely free. The goal is empty, but we can't handle it. I have to say, that's stupid.

"You lead 1-0, everyone is a bit tired and everything is possible. When they [Hoffenheim] made the 1:1, it was hard to accept. But we have to get at least one point at the end.

"Unfortunately we didn't manage that and that's a great pity. When I imagine how many points we lost stupidly. That costs us a lot. But congratulations to my colleague [Alfred Schreuder]."

Dortmund star Julian Brandt added: "We couldn't manage to score the second goal. We lacked determination, conviction and concentration. It was an ugly result."

 

Lucien Favre said Borussia Dortmund's 3-3 draw with RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga on Tuesday was "very hard to accept".

Dortmund led 2-0 and 3-2 but ended up being held at Signal Iduna Park, where Julian Weigl, Julian Brandt and Jadon Sancho scored for the hosts.

Timo Werner's brace and Patrik Schick's 77th-minute goal saw the spoils shared as Leipzig moved three points clear atop the Bundesliga.

Favre said it was tough to accept Dortmund did not collect three points as they were left in third and four points adrift.

"It was a very good game with a lot of speed. Both teams pressed well at the beginning. After that, we were very good and in the first half we were the better team," he told a news conference.

"Then we led 2-0 and we wanted the 3-0. We had a lot of patience and intelligence. Then we conceded two goals. After that, chapeau to the team.

"You concede these two goals and then score the 3-2. I congratulate my team. Then we conceded the 3-3. We wanted to use a few goal chances afterwards.

"In the end, the result is very hard to accept but I keep the positive things in my head."

Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann accepted his team were fortunate to leave Dortmund with a point.

"In the end, I think it's a lucky point. Everyone has seen that. We wipe our mouths and take it with us," he said.

"We don't apologise, but it wasn't what we could play, especially in the first half. We weren't brave enough and couldn't find any access in the press.

"That's not easy in the third away game in such a short time, if you're not at 100 per cent against such a strong team.

"Then, on the other hand, there's our own possession of the ball and in that aspect we were incredibly weak."

Lucien Favre saluted goalkeeper Roman Burki and the rest of his squad after Borussia Dortmund squeezed through to the Champions League's last 16.

A nerve-jangling 2-1 home win over Slavia Prague and Inter's late loss to Barcelona saw Dortmund finish second in Group F on Tuesday.

Tomas Soucek cancelled out Jadon Sancho's opener before Julian Brandt restored the Bundesliga side's lead just after the hour.

Julian Weigl's subsequent dismissal for two bookable offences led to a tense finale, but Burki brilliantly denied Milan Skoda and Abdulla Yusuf Helal to secure all three points.

"Everyone, without a single exception, played a part in this win," Favre said.

"It was a crazy match. Constant chances. We had to win this game – it's what we were aiming for and we did it, but it was difficult.

"Slavia were very tough as expected. They had drawn their previous games, we hadn't.

"Roman Burki was unbelievable, he was fantastic. But just to reiterate: we achieved this victory together. We created a lot of scoring opportunities and should've been winning more than 1-0.

"We were too open at certain points. It's a win but we need to continue to work hard."

Burki made seven saves in total to confirm Dortmund's place in the knockout rounds at the expense of Inter, who succumbed to an Ansu Fati winner in the 86th minute at San Siro.

"The whole team felt a huge sense of relief after the final whistle," Burki said.

"Hardly anything had filtered through to us. It was only when the spectators were celebrating shortly before the end that we looked at the screen. That gave us an additional boost at that point.

"We're a team, we battled well. It was clear that I could be in for a busy evening. But that's what I'm there for – perhaps today I might even say that I did fairly well."

Bottom-placed Slavia exit the competition without a win but coach Jindrich Trpisovsky was delighted with how his side equipped themselves in Germany.

"My boys gave a performance that was worthy of the Champions League," he said. "I am proud that they showed such a display against Dortmund, who were playing for everything."

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel has been ruled out for the rest of the year after being hospitalised by an "awkward fall" at his home.

Witsel, who played a full part in Saturday's 5-0 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf, underwent oral and facial surgery at Klinikzentrum Nord Hospital over the weekend.

The Belgium international has been discharged from hospital but will miss at least four matches ahead of the mid-season break, starting with Tuesday's Champions League clash with Slavia Prague.

"Witsel will sadly be out for the rest of this year," BVB boss Lucien Favre confirmed at Monday's pre-match news conference.

"I was told about this yesterday morning. We could not speak to him. He was in hospital.

"But there is one positive thing - he's already back home. We can't change it now. It's a shame for him, a shame for us. He's one of the most important players for us."

Asked to provide more details on the injury, Dortmund media director Sascha Fligge said the midfielder "fell awkwardly at home".

Witsel has scored three goals in 21 appearances for Dortmund this season.

Mats Hummels insists there are no problems between himself and under-fire Borussia Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre.

Dortmund snapped a winless run of three matches in all competitions by beating Hertha Berlin 2-1 last Saturday, despite Hummels receiving a 45th-minute red card in the German capital.

On their return from last month's international break, BVB were forced to come from 3-0 down to claim a 3-3 draw at home to bottom side Paderborn.

Speaking after that match, Hummels appeared to question Favre's initial defensive setup when he said:  "Let's just put it this way, it would be easier to press in a 4-1-4-1 and I'll leave it at that."

But the 2014 World Cup winner told Sport Bild he remains behind former Borussia Monchengladbach and Nice boss Favre.

"There are no differences with the coach, this is nonsense," he told Sport Bild.

"We have a very good relationship and we talk a lot, we talk a lot.

"I like his ideas, I am very surprised if they interpret my words as criticising the coach. I do not think so at all."

Specifically addressing his post-Paderborn comments, Hummels added: "If we have to press and press, my opinion is that we are better in this system.

"I feel that the coach had the same impression against Paderborn, otherwise he would not have switched to it."

Bayern are fifth in the Bundesliga, five points behind leaders Gladbach heading into their weekend match against Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Freddie Ljungberg's spell as Arsenal interim head coach starts away at Norwich City on Sunday.

If the Swede gets his wish, it will be the humble beginning of a long-term tenure.

The Gunners are reportedly receptive to the idea of keeping him in the dugout, at least until the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – LJUNGBERG KEEN ON LONG-TERM ARSENAL CHANCE

Could rookie coach Freddie Ljungberg go from hugging the touchline at Highbury to patrolling it permanently at Emirates Stadium?

According to The Guardian, the 42-year-old is determined to prove he should succeed Unai Emery at Arsenal on a full-time basis.

Carlo Ancelotti, Massimiliano Allegri and Mauricio Pochettino are among the many men linked with the role, although club chiefs are reportedly prepared to let Ljungberg stay on for the remainder of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying in the Premier League and Wolves will fight "tooth and nail" to keep Arsenal coaching contender Nuno Espirito Santo, says the Daily Mail.

- Inter have been linked with a South American double swoop. Antonio Conte wants more depth and the Serie A side are keen on Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez and promising River Plate defender Lucas Martinez Quarta, reports La Repubblica.

- Edinson Cavani knows a contract extension will not be forthcoming but the striker wants to stay at Paris Saint-Germain until the end of the season, according to Le Parisien.

- West Ham CEO Karen Brady expressed her support of under-fire manager Manuel Pellegrini in The Sun, although the Daily Mail reports he has just two games to save his job.

- Anything less than victory against Hertha Berlin on Saturday will likely spell the end for Lucien Favre at Borussia Dortmund, says Sky Sport Germany.

Lucien Favre insisted his circumstances at Borussia Dortmund were "not important" amid pressure on the coach.

Dortmund are winless in three matches in all competitions and sit sixth in the Bundesliga, five points adrift of Borussia Monchengladbach and Schalke.

Favre, who has been in charge since May last year, is under increasing pressure, but the 62-year-old played down his circumstances ahead of a trip to Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

"I'm trying to concentrate only on the game in Berlin. My personal situation is not important," he told a news conference.

"This is part of the game and happens very fast when you don't get results. That's how it is and I accept it.

"But I will keep going and am confident in the team and in myself."

Dortmund suffered a 3-1 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday and are third in Group F, level on points with second-placed Inter.

Jadon Sancho's issues at Borussia Dortmund have been dealt with and a January departure is not expected, insists sporting director Michael Zorc.

Sancho is Dortmund's star man but has endured a difficult spell this month, as he was hauled off in the first half of a 4-0 Klassiker rout at the hands of Bayern Munich and then started on the bench against Barcelona in midweek.

Under-fire coach Lucien Favre claimed he preferred to select players who are "focused and ready", although the England international scored after coming on.

However, Zorc is confident Dortmund have managed the issue, meaning Sancho - linked with a host of top clubs, including Manchester United - should remain at Signal Iduna Park at least until the end of the season.

"We've cleared everything internally in the team and with the player," Zorc told a news conference on Friday ahead of the trip to Hertha Berlin.

"It's done, we're looking forward. Jadon is another regular player and he is part of our team.

"I believe that when he came on against Barcelona, ​​we witnessed a good response and he did a very good job.

"I do not have the impression that he wants to prepare for a January move. We talked to him and his agency. We hope he shows his best possible performance tomorrow."

Zorc also reiterated his backing of Favre, who has Dortmund sixth in the Bundesliga and winless in three in all competitions.

"Everything has already been said," Zorc said. "We have faith in Lucien, he works very hard and wants to reverse the trend.

"We believe he can do it in this situation, we stay in the reality and do not go into speculation."

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