'The club needs my quality' – Dortmund new boy Haller dismisses Haaland replacement talk

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Sebastian Haller says he does not want to be labelled as "someone's successor" after replacing Erling Haaland at Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland scored 86 goals in 89 appearances during his two-and-a-half-year spell at Dortmund before making a big-money move to Manchester City last month.

That tally was bettered by only Robert Lewandowski (123 in 108 games) and Kylian Mbappe (93 in 111 games) of players from Europe's top five leagues during that period.

Dortmund swiftly acted to replace the Norway international, signing Haller from Ajax for a reported €36million and exciting forward Karim Adeyemi from RB Salzburg.

Haller caught the eye with Ajax during a talismanic 18-month spell that included 11 goals in just eight Champions League appearances in the 2021-22 season.

But the Ivory Coast striker was quick to dismiss comparisons with Haaland, insisting he did not want to be viewed as a replacement for the prolific striker.

"I'm not coming to Borussia Dortmund as someone's successor, but because the club needs my quality," he told reporters on Sunday at Dortmund's Bad Ragaz training camp in Switzerland.

"So I'll do my best to give back the confidence. I knew that BVB had been interested for a long time, by that I mean during the last season.

"But there is a big difference between interest and the transfer fee. When it became concrete, I felt that Dortmund had a very good option for me. In the end, it certainly wasn't a bad deal for Ajax either."

Sebastian Haller scored 11 goals in just eight Champions League appearances
Sebastian Haller scored 11 goals in just eight Champions League appearances

Barcelona struck a deal with Bayern Munich on Saturday to bring Lewandowski to the Blaugrana for a reported €50m, including add-ons.

The Poland captain scored 50 goals last season in all competitions, more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues, but Haller refused to suggest Bayern would be weaker without Lewandowski.

"Time will tell. I'm here now to play for Borussia Dortmund and do my best. Not to talk about the situation at other clubs," he added.

"It doesn't matter to me whether he still played at Bayern or not. I want to win games with my team. I don't focus on other teams.

"First of all, to be able to achieve anything, we have to win our games. If we're not successful, then we don't need to look at others anyway.

"I focus on the way we play, on our team, and I want to adapt quickly instead of worrying about our opponents getting weaker. It's like this: If you want to win titles, you have to focus on yourself."

Dortmund start their new campaign with a DFB-Pokal tie against 1860 Munich on July 26, with their Bundesliga season starting at home to Bayer Leverkusen on August 6.

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