The expectations on Erling Haaland at Borussia Dortmund are higher than they ever were for Robert Lewandowski when he joined the club, according to former BVB captain Sebastian Kehl.
Haaland made an electric start to his Dortmund career after signing from Salzburg in January, scoring 16 goals in 18 appearances in all competitions for the club in 2019-20.
The 20-year-old striker hit a double in their season-opening game against Borussia Monchengladbach but struggled in the 2-0 defeat to Augsburg on Saturday, managing just one shot on target and 19 touches across the entire game.
It was a significant dip for Haaland, who has been touted to follow in the footsteps of Lewandowski, who spent four seasons at Signal Iduna Park between 2010 and 2014.
“Lewy came to us as a great talent at the time. Haaland, on the other hand, already arrived in Dortmund at a very high level and with a very different reputation than Lewandowski did at the time,” Kehl, who played alongside Lewandowski for Dortmund and now heads up the club’s licensed player division, told Kicker.
“We had been waiting for a player like him (Haaland). The hopes placed in him were accordingly immediately high.”
While Haaland settled straight in, Lewandowski had to fight Lucas Barrios for a place in the first team after arriving from Lech Poznan. However, he has since developed into one of the leading strikers in the world, scoring 55 goals as Bayern Munich claimed a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble last season.
“For Lewandowski, the 2010-11 season was not easy. He and Barrios didn’t always get along well. Lewy had to fight for his place and prevail,” said Kehl.
“Lewy is so consistent, so complete, almost never injured – for me he is one of the best in the world. A great player.” Haaland and Lewandowski will go head to head when Dortmund take on Bayern in the DFL-Supercup on Wednesday.