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Favre’s Dortmund puzzle: Can Moukoko replace Haaland?

Erling Haaland injured

Berlin, German | THE INDEPENDENT |    Borussia Dortmund’s dependency on Norwegian wonderboy Erling Haaland could turn out to be greater than imagined.

After 17 goals in 14 games across all competitions, the 20-year-old is out until January with a muscular injury. Ahead of the domestic league match against Eintracht Frankfurt this Saturday, the club is running out of forwards.

With six games remaining in 2020, the Black and Yellows coach Lucien Favre is being forced to rethink his side’s entire attacking approach.

So far, the club’s strategy is entirely based on Haaland due to the forward’s deep runs and using him as a link to allow midfielders to catch up when counter-attacking.

If no solution is found, Dortmund is in danger of losing contact with national rival Bayern Munich and losing ground in the title race.

The most likely option contains uncertainties and possibly requires more courage than coach Favre may have.

Asking the question of replacing the club’s most successful attacker with 16-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko leads to the conclusion that the side lacks frontline strikers in its squad.

Favre could be forced to call on his youngster earlier than he would have wanted. Moukoko might have to keep Borussia’s title chances alive, which is increasing the load on his shoulders.

“We have to find a new balance in our game. The strategy is different when we can count on Erling,” the managing director Michael Zorc commented.

For Favre, he either has to hope for an upswing of his remaining but struggling front men or jump in at the deep end.

Neither team-captain Marco Reus nor Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard seem in appropriate shape to fill in.

The trio might be of use in midfield and down the flanks but hardly suited to do a job in the box.

The Champions League group encounter against Lazio might have given evidence of how vital a robust spearhead in Dortmund’s game is.

Dortmund failed to create chances and had to count on the stunning saves of Swiss goalkeeper Roman Buerki to book a place in the last 16.

The original plan to cautiously develop Moukoko might have to be thrown out the window.

The teenager is slipping into a vital role after two brief appearances in the league against Hertha and Cologne.

“We can count on several players ready for duty upfront,” Favre claims. Simultaneously the Swiss manager is aware that things could get worse without a goal-scorer aside of the injury of team leader Mats Hummels in the back.

Many expect Moukoko to trigger a motivational boost for a team that has so far seemed trapped between the coach’s reluctant approach and the desire to increase its attacking strategy.

For a while it won’t be Haaland satisfying the expectations despite announcing to be back soon. It is youngster Moukoko having to do a man’s job.

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XINHUA

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