'If Haaland is so good then why is he at Dortmund?' - Bundesliga chief's backhanded praise for BVB recruitment


Christian Siefert has praised Borussia Dortmund for beating the biggest clubs in Europe to the signing of Erling Haaland - despite initially appearing to question the quality of the teenage forward.

Haaland has established himself as one of the deadliest strikers in world football this season, initially impressing for Red Bull Salzburg in Austria and the Champions League before making the switch to the Bundesliga in January.

He has continued to find the net on a regular basis in Germany - including the first goal following coronavirus lockdown in Dortmund's 4-0 thrashing of local rivals Schalke - which has seen him linked with another move this summer, with Real Madrid among the teams consistently connected.

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Siefert, when asked about the transfer speculation, initially appeared to play down the striker's ability, before clarifying his comments as meaning that he was impressed with Dortmund for signing Haaland ahead of the likes of Manchester United, who were heavily linked with the player in January.

When asked if Haaland leaving would be negative for Bundesliga, Siefert told Marca: "Any great player leaving is a loss. But I'll ask you: if he's so good then why is he at Dortmund?"

Asked to expand on this, he said: "It's easy now to admire a player who is already at the focus of worldwide attention. The hard thing is signing him before that happens. Dortmund did that, again doing an excellent job."

Siefert said that Bundesliga - which is so far the only major European league to resume action following the coronavirus pandemic - did not need individual star players to attract attention and fans, with the quality of football and competition being much more important.

He said: "Football is a collective sport, it's not like basketball. La Liga had the two best players in the world for a decade, which has never happened. It was a success for them, but I'm happy with our progress in Germany."

The quick resumption of the Bundesliga has drawn some criticism in Germany, with some supporters unhappy at games being played behind closed doors - or at all, as people continue to die from the Covid-19 virus.

Siefert defended the league however, saying they have taken plenty of precautions and had used their own resources in order to bring sport back into peoples' lives after months away.

He said: "We haven't risked the health of the general public or stolen tests from anyone. If we could start the league on our own resources and without asking the state for money, then why not do it? On top of that, Germany loves football - 80 million people had the virus in their heads, so we helped to forget it a little bit. We just want to be treated like any other industry."

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