Dortmund edge towards a top-four finish that could allow them to keep Haaland and Sancho

Stefan Bienkowski
Stefan Bienkowski Updated: 19 May 2021 15:54 CEST 6 min read
Dortmund edge towards a top-four finish that could allow them to keep Haaland and Sancho

Borussia Dortmund edged towards a top four finish in the Bundesliga on Saturday and, as a result, the possibility of keeping Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho at the club. 

Although Edin Terzic’s side have struggled for consistency this season, Dortmund knew that they needed all three points to get anything out of this league campaign when they arrived at the Volkswagen Arena to face third-placed Wolfsburg. 

The former German champions were granted some fortune in the opening stages of the game, when a poor pass back from Paulo Otavio offered Haaland the opportunity to run in behind the Wolfsburg defence and slam the ball past Koen Casteels’ front post. So that’s exactly what he did. 

Wolfsburg undoubtedly had opportunities to halt Dortmund’s climb up the league table. Yannick Gerhardt constantly troubled the visitors and towering striker Wout Weghorst fired a shot just over the crossbar in the opening minute of the second half to remind his opponents that he was lurking and ready to score. 

Perhaps the best chance for the hosts to draw level came in the 59th minute, when Jude Bellingham received his marching orders after a late tackle forced the referee to show him a second yellow card. Yet, rather than push for an equaliser, Wolfsburg once again capitulated to Haaland’s raw speed and power. 

Just eight minutes after going a man down, Dortmund struck again when Mahmoud Dahoud unleashed Haaland via a tremendous through ball, which allowed the striker to fly down the centre of the pitch and burst through Wolfsburg’s high line to curl a second left-footed shot by the keeper. 

In the end, Dortmund deserved their victory and all three points and now sit just one point behind Eintracht Frankfurt – who still have a game in hand – and two behind Wolfsburg. 

Will a top four finish allow Dortmund to keep Haaland and Sancho? 

Aside from the sporting merit of finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season’s Champions League, reaching the continental competition will quell much of the talk of Haaland or Sancho leaving the club this summer. 

Although Dortmund’s hierarchy have dismissed the suggestions at every opportunity, reports in England and Germany have suggested that the club may be forced to sell either Sancho or Haaland to make up the financial loss from not reaching the Champions League and the riches it tends to offer. 

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Aside from the financial argument, there’s also a case to be made that Haaland and Sancho may both be far more likely to stay at the club if it is still competing in the Champions League and potentially putting together a title challenge next season. 

As good as the Europa League may be, it certainly doesn’t have the same prestige as the Champions League and certainly wouldn’t help Dortmund bring new players to the club or convince their current stars to stay put. Especially if Sancho is wanted by Manchester United or Chelsea, while the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid chase Haaland’s signature.