Man City: After a 1-1 draw in Germany, the match seemed to be in the balance, but Haaland’s hat-trick in the first half and two more goals before the hour on an incredible night completely destroyed Man City’s opponents. He has already scored 39 goals during the season.
Haaland scored five goals in less than an hour at the Etihad Stadium to help City advance to the round of eight for the sixth consecutive season. Further scoring in the rout were Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne.
After Lionel Messi and Luiz Adriano, Haaland is the third player to score five goals in a Champions League match. Less than a year after joining City from Borussia Dortmund, Haaland also breaks City’s single-season goal record.
One quick response:
- Mbappe and Messi smash Haaland’s five-break record
Erling Haaland is producing astonishing figures in his debut season in England, and they keep getting better. The Norwegian now has 39 goals, one more than City’s single-season record of 38 established by Tommy Johnson in 1928–1929. He scored five goals against RB Leipzig, including his fifth hat trick of the year. Even though it’s only March, Haaland might already be over 60 by the time the season is complete because City is still participating in three competitions.
His second goal against RB Leipzig, a close-range header after pressuring Janis Blaswich into a mistake, made him the youngest player in Champions League history, at 22 years and 236 days, ahead of Kylian Mbappe (22 years, 352 days) and Lionel Messi (23 years, 131 days).
Pep Guardiola stated prior to this week’s fixtures that their season would be decided by games against Crystal Palace, RB Leipzig, and Burnley. Two games down, and Haaland has been instrumental in both. He was signed by Man City to determine critical games towards the conclusion of the season, and that is exactly what he is doing. Burnley should be concerned ahead of their FA Cup visit here on Saturday.
- The VAR review opens the floodgates.
RB Leipzig came to Man City hoping to cause an upset after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Germany, but they never got the chance to make Man City nervous. When Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic began walking over to the pitchside monitor to look at a potential penalty that no one else had spotted, those inside the stadium had no idea what was going on.
Even after the review, it appeared that Benjamin Henrichs had mishandled Rodri’s header. Haaland didn’t care, scoring his 35th goal of the season from the penalty spot while the vestiges of RB Leipzig’s complaints were still being directed toward Vincic.
RB Leipzig’s game plan was shattered in the space of two minutes midway through the first half, leaving them facing an almost insurmountable challenge at 3-1 down on aggregate. It was game over by the time Haaland completed his hat-trick in first-half stoppage time, and the second half was little more than a training exercise for Guardiola and his men.
- Apart from Bayern, the Bundesliga’s elite teams are given a severe lesson.
A matter of a matter of matter. Bayern Munich, the finest the Bundesliga has to offer, is still in the running after knocking out Paris Saint-Germain, but the rest of Germany is playing catch-up with England’s enormous spending.
- RB Leipzig hasn’t advanced past the last 16 since reaching the semifinals in 2020, while Dortmund’s best result since reaching the final in 2013 is three quarterfinals. It could have been different for RB Leipzig if Christopher Nkunku had played more than 24 minutes in both games, but the French striker is an example of why clubs like Leipzig and Dortmund will struggle to consistently break into Europe’s top eight.
Nkunku is certain to join Chelsea in the summer, while Dortmund’s best player, Jude Bellingham, might follow Haaland to Man City if they can stave off Real Madrid and Liverpool. It’s difficult to play catch-up when the rug is repeatedly yanked from beneath your feet.