Brilliant last season with Ajax Amsterdam where he scored 34 goals and delivered 9 offerings in 43 matches, Sébastien Haller had decided to return to the Bundesliga. A championship where he had shone with Eintracht Frankfurt and where an attractive project was presented to him with Borussia Dortmund. The 28-year-old striker who arrived against a check for 31 million euros nevertheless had a lot to do since he succeeded on the attacking front to a certain Erling Braut Haaland who is now ravaging everything with Manchester City. Despite this, the profile of the native of Ris-Orangis seemed to stick to the game of Edin Terzic and we could expect an ideal marriage. Unfortunately, the idyll did not last. The reason is not sporting, but medical. Only two weeks after his arrival, the Ivory Coast international was diagnosed with a testicular tumour.
From then on, football logically took second place and the health of the player became paramount. Regularly informing about his state of health, Sébastien Haller took the necessary time, but the trend was positive and his illness was progressing in the right direction. Returning to training in early January, he found sensations during friendlies, he notably slammed a hat-trick against FC Basel (6-0). “It couldn’t have been better. To come back like that, to score goals, to help the team and to feel that the body is getting better and better as the days go by. I couldn’t imagine better, not only for me, but also for the team, for everyone. So we will continue to move in this direction, all together. And as I said, I hope to be decisive to help the team.” he explained after the meeting. The beginning of a gradual return to its best level.
A remarkable comeback
Entering the game on January 22 against Augsburg (4-3), the former Auxerre player enjoyed full support from his team and his supporters when he walked on the lawn. A moment of emotion that affected both his coach Edin Terzic and the main interested party. “It was a strong emotion. This is what I had in my sights since the first day, to be able to show my qualities and to know that, behind, there had been a fight. It added to my desire. Everyone was expecting it. The only thing that lowered the intensity of my emotion is the score, because I remain a competitor and I enter at 2-2. (…) But there are still so many things to live” he explained to The Team. Since then, acclimatization to the Borussia Dortmund game for a player who had not yet played in official competition with his new club took time. But it paid off.
Entering into a positive dynamic and carried by the momentum driven by his teammates, Sébastien Haller fairly quickly found a place in his training. Useful in the game, he finally found the nets on February 4 against Freiburg. Author of a double on March 18 against Cologne, he continued to take a little time to regain his efficiency, but remained valuable in the results of his team (9 wins and 1 draw in the first 10 matches of the BvB in the Bundesliga in 2023 ). Perfectly integrated into the group that supported him throughout his illness, Sébastien Haller explained to us in an interview that his season and that of Borussia Dortmund could end in apotheosis: “it is clear that we are not going to spit on this title because it is within reach, it is really the objective of any player. We are in a position of strength, we want to achieve this and we will do everything to give ourselves the means. I hope it will pass, but for that we will continue the work on a daily basis. Afterwards, as I said, all that is a bonus for me.
Sébastien Haller, the miracle of the BvB season
If he dreamed of the title at the end of March, Sébastien Haller perhaps did not imagine being so close to it at this very moment. In a mano-mano with Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund took the lead on the penultimate day thanks to a 3-0 victory against Augsburg (after the Bavarians’ 3-1 loss against Leipzig on Saturday). Consequently, with a two-point lead before the last day, Borussia Dortmund will be champions in the event of a victory at home against Mainz. A Grail touched with the fingertips and whose importance for Sébastien Haller will not be overlooked. Currently in full success, he comes out of a goal and an offering against Wolfsburg (6-0), two goals and two offerings against Borussia Mönchengladbach (5-2) and especially a new double against Augsburg (3- 0). In 18 Bundesliga matches, he has 9 goals and 5 offerings and has just offered the lead in the championship to the Marsupials.
Something to move his coach Edin Terzic after the match: “It’s a pure miracle. I said it in January, when he was able to stand on the pitch for the first time with us against Augsburg at home. Whatever happens in the standings after the next game, the biggest miracle is that Sébastien is back with us this season […] The man that is Sébastien, with his will, we missed so much in the locker room and on the training ground. It simply remains the greatest miracle that Seb’ was able to come back this way. We hope that next week, he will be just as successful and that he will become the hero of the season. An exceptional trajectory for Sébastien Haller who is only one step away from marking the history of Borussia during a season where he will have shown breathtaking strength and admirable character.