Haaland is a goal machine. But is it more powerful (and more reliable) than Lewandowski?

Haaland is a goal machine. But is it more powerful (and more reliable) than Lewandowski?

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21 May 2022
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In terms of conversion (goals per minute), Haaland is second only to one player

Haaland has been around for a long time, but he entered a truly competitive environment in the winter of 2020, when he moved from RB Salzburg to Borussia. Soon the pandemic began, and the year turned out to be crumpled. For the sake of experimentation, let’s look at Haaland’s goal stats over two full seasons in the Bundesliga and compare him to the competition. The Norwegian played 4229 minutes in the championship and scored 48 goals. For a premium level, is it small, average or prohibitive? The answer is on the chart. In terms of goals, Haaland is in the top five, only Lewandowski, Mbappe and Benzema are ahead, but! The Norwegian played almost 1000 minutes less than the main group of competitors. Hence the highest conversion: an average of 88 minutes per goal. For comparison: Mbappe scores every 102 minutes, Benzema every 109 minutes. Only one person in the world can look down on Holland’s performance. The chart once again captures the greatness of Robert Lewandowski. There are still no equal strikers in top football. 75 goals in two seasons, averaging 71 minutes per goal. The Pole’s 13 goals from the penalty spot did not greatly affect the alignment, because his competitors also shoot from the point (Haaland has 7 goals), but it is still correct to separately evaluate the goals from the game.

Holland and Vlahovic are the brightest strikers of the generation. True, Erling scores more often

On the graph, all the players in the top 5 leagues who were born in 2000 and later. Yes, yes, Holland will turn 22 only in July. Dusan Vlahovic (six months older) is the closest competitor, but he has played almost 2,000 more minutes in those two seasons and scored fewer. The rest are not even close. “He’s faster than me, but otherwise we compete,” the Serb is clearly determined to continue the fight. We saw an amazing example of Holland’s superiority over his peers at the 2019 Youth World Cup. Haaland ascended to the scoring throne, scoring 9 goals (all in one match with Honduras), but at the same time, Norway did not even make it out of the group. None of the other players then scored more than 4 goals in the tournament.

Only Mbappe started so briskly. Cristiano and Messi behind 

Haaland moves faster than the young Messi and Ronaldo, not to mention Benzema and Lewandowski, who matured later. At the same time, even after the end of the era of Messi and Ronaldo, Haaland will not be able to rule undividedly – Mbappe is going at about the same pace and so far is clearly not slowing down. But Holland is also clearly not satisfied with his performance. “I think I should have more goals than matches,” Erling said in September 2021. His greed (in a good way) is also shown in his choice of position for punches. Holland in Dortmund every month was fixed in the role of a classic striker – if at first he captured the flanks, then this season most of his shots are from the very center of the penalty area. And their frequency is growing. But at the same time, the weight of the average shot has decreased: in the 19/20 season 0.23xG, in the next – 0.18xG. How to explain it? In the center of the penalty area, the density is higher, which affects the quality of the moment (the more defenders in the path of the shot, the less xG). Plus, the map shows that Holland moved further and further away from the goalie, that is, he received a minimum of situations where you just need to close the cross.

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