Ralf Rangnick, Bayern Munich’s head coach, is no stranger to having called up young players for his team. When Robert Lewandowski came into the senior side, he was the first player in which Rangnick had seen for a while. Since then, players such as Kingsley Coman, Dante, Thiago Alcantara, Rafinha, and Arturo Vidal have followed suit.
Yet, despite the countless honors Bayern has won under his direction, no player has made a more spectacular impact for the club than the young striker Erling Haaland, who is currently training at Rangnick’s Polish side Lech Poznan. And it’s not the Germany international this Bayern manager admires more.
Haaland is based at Bayern’s sister club but has yet to make his debut in the Bundesliga. He left Bayern’s academy to join the Polish league’s Werder Bremen as a 16-year-old, and has scored 12 goals in 20 games for his country so far.
“A young player like Haaland, he’s probably different to what we have at Bayern Munich,” Rangnick told German tabloid Bild. “He’s a tall lanky striker who loves scoring and he’s been on fire for Germany and Bremen. We’ve put him out there, he can score goals and play with a lot of freedom. He is massive talent and has the ability to leave us with no choice but to move him up the ranks.”
Rangnick added that Haaland has earned his promotion, with his performances “impressive.” In the Bundesliga last season, Haaland scored six goals, and led his club to victory in the premier division. In the Bundesliga, Haaland has scored seven goals so far this season.
With 11 international goals so far, Haaland also broke a new national goal record in 2017. He now stands fourth all-time for his country with 43 goals, following Lewandowski, Miroslav Klose, and Lukas Podolski.
Bayern Munich’s head coach could still call Haaland into his first team, though. The German champions play in the 2018 FIFA World Cup next summer, and could be crowned champions. This would be a huge success for the club, and an opportunity for Haaland to establish himself as one of the most complete strikers in world football.
In the meantime, it is perhaps prudent for Rangnick to give Haaland more game time in his native Poland. In the German Bundesliga, it is very rare for an experienced player to lose his place because of injury. While Haaland is undeniably ready to move up the ranks, Bayern could turn their attention to another hotshot from the Bundesliga – Wolfsburg’s 18-year-old striker Mason Greenwood.
Both Haaland and Greenwood are excellent soccer prospects. Yet, nobody is quite sure how well they will adapt to the physical rigors of the Champions League. With the draw revealed this week, Bayern will have a shot at Huddersfield Town and Valencia in their group. Rangnick will get an early opportunity to see Greenwood in action. Bayern travel to England to face Huddersfield on Friday in a repeat of their FA Cup final meeting of 2016.
In the Bundesliga, we often see top players playing for different clubs, often before they graduate to the senior side. The likes of Lukas Podolski, Yaya Toure, and Mesut Ozil are prime examples of players who move between different clubs and are often of the highest quality, regardless of where they are in their careers. Yet, few players of Haaland’s caliber have joined clubs of this size in Germany before.
Rangnick likes Haaland’s potential and has said that he is “one of the most wanted players in Europe.” Right now, though, he may see even more upside in Greenwood.