Erling Haaland embraced Pep Guardiola and was frenetically celebrated by the crowd. The Norwegian striker star has destroyed Leipzig's dreams of the Champions League quarter-finals with a breathtaking gala and catapulted himself to a par with Lionel Messi with his goal record.
Haaland advanced in the 7-0 (3-0) of the English champions Manchester City in the second leg of the round of sixteen against the Bundesliga club on Tuesday with five goals to the acclaimed match winner. Only Lionel Messi, once in a 7-1 win against Bayer Leverkusen, and Luiz Adriano in Shakhtyor Donetsk had scored five goals before him in a Champions League match.
After the courageous performance at 1:1 in the first leg, RB had hoped for the big coup, but against the force of goalkeeper Haaland, the DFB Cup winner had no chance. This threatens the Bundesliga to be represented in the quarter-finals only with FC Bayern, especially since Eintracht Frankfurt has only outsider chances on Wednesday in Naples.
The difference in wet and cold weather was made by Haaland, of all people, who had once matured into a world-class striker under Leipzig coach Marco Rose in Salzburg and Dortmund. "You'll never be able to turn it off completely," Rose had prophesied, and painfully proved right. First, the striker, who was still logged off in the first leg, brought the Citizens into the lead with a powerful hand penalty (22nd).
Only 77 seconds later, the Norwegian was on the spot by head. And shortly before the half-time whistle, Haaland completed his hat-trick with a duster (45.+2). After Ilkay Gündogan marked the fourth goal after the break (49th), Haaland continued his show with two more goals (54th and 57th) and caused the highest Leipzig defeat in Champions League history. Haaland has now scored ten goals in the current season of the premier class, and he has been successful in the Premier League 28 times. Kevin De Bruyne provided the final point (90.+2).
The Leipzig team wanted to play courageously, hurt Guardiola's team with aggressive pressing. But in front of around 53,000 spectators, including 3000,<> Leipzigers, things turned out quite differently. Manchester sparked powerful pressure from the beginning with high ball possession percentages. The Leipzig hardly came out of their own half, were played downright dizzy. After just three minutes, German international Gündogan had the chance to take the lead when he put the ball over the goal after Kevin De Bruyne's cross. The Belgian, who had missed the first leg injured, gave the game of the English again more structure.
RB were lucky to have survived the opening phase without conceding a goal. Because Haaland (11th) with a huge chance and Jack Grealish with a just faked shot (16th) had more top-class players. All the more bitterly, the Saxons fell behind. After a header by Rodrigo, the ball touched the splayed arm of Benjamin Henrichs, after video evidence the Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic pointed to the point. "It is inexplicable that such catastrophic decisions are made at such a level," complained Matthias Sammer as an expert at Amazon Prime Video.
Haaland gratefully accepted the gift and gave Janis Blaswich, who had saved a penalty from Gladbach's Alassane Plea at the weekend, no chance. And shortly afterwards it was again Haaland who reacted fastest after a powerful crossbar shot by De Bruyne. But that's not all: Shortly before the break, Ruben Dias put a header at the post after a corner before Haaland sent the ball over the line.
And Leipzig? The guests did not have a real goal chance in the first 45 minutes. Timo Werner – after all, the only player on the pitch to win the Henkel trophy – also remained pale. It didn't go any better after the restart. Gündogan destroyed the last glimmer of hope with a placed shot from 14 yards. After that, Haaland was again twice from close range on the spot, before he was replaced after just over an hour under huge cheers. Perhaps Haaland would have finally erased the Messi record with further goals.