Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus warned against over-praising teammate Erling Haaland after yet another outstanding performance from the Norway striker. (More Football News)
Haaland was involved in every goal Saturday as he led Dortmund to a 5-2 rout of Eintracht Frankfurt in their Bundesliga opener.
“We always have to be careful not to praise him too much. Only because there are still some things he needs to improve,” Reus said.
Inspired by thousands of Dortmund fans back in the stands and chanting his name, Haaland was generous toward teammates in Marco Rose's first league game as Dortmund coach. The 21-year-old set up three goals and scored two after starting the season with a hat trick in the German Cup last weekend.
“He can score super goals, play from deep, his speed, his assertiveness – he's a package, you have to say,” Reus said.
Haaland took his tally to 62 goals scored in 61 competitive games for Dortmund.
“We need him of course,” Reus said of the striker who has long attracted attention from other clubs.
“We need him healthy, he can do what he wants, he gets a free pass. But we hope that he will stay healthy and that he will consistently put on special performances like today.”
The game attracted a 25,000 crowd, the maximum allowed under new regulations after a season in which fans were shut out due to coronavirus restrictions. Dortmund's stadium can hold 81,000 supporters and those attending did their best to make up for the shortfall.
Haaland set up Reus for the opener in the 23rd, four minutes before Dortmund defender Felix Passlack equalized with an own-goal. It didn't affect Haaland, who set up Thorgan Hazard in the 32nd, two minutes before he scored himself.
Reus had a goal ruled out through VAR as the ball had gone out of play, so it stayed 3-1 at the break.
New Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner responded with three changes but couldn't stop the Dortmund express. Haaland set up American Gio Reyna for the home side's fourth goal in the 58th, before Reus sent Haaland through for the fifth in the 70th.
Another Norwegian, Jens Petter Hauge, scored Frankfurt's consolation on his debut in the 86th.
There was still time for Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp to deny Haaland a hat trick.
SWISS COACHES DRAW
Union Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen drew 1-1 in their opening game earlier, while promoted teams Greuther Fürth and Bochum made losing returns to the league.
Pellegrino Matarazzo's Stuttgart team routed Fürth 5-1, and Bochum had a player sent off in the fourth minute before losing 1-0 at Wolfsburg.
Union's stadium was half full for Leverkusen's visit. Fans were cheerful as they were finally back, milling around, drinking beer and enjoying grilled sausages and steaks before the game. A huge banner facing the field called for an end to restrictions, and for stadiums to be filled.
However, some Union fans whistled when Leverkusen players Nadiem Amiri and Jonathan Tah's names were read out during the lineup announcements. Amiri was insulted by Union's Florian Hübner in the sides' previous meeting, when Tah made allegations of racist abuse.
Taiwo Awoniyi gave Union a seventh-minute lead, but Leverkusen answered with a period of pressure and Moussa Diaby equalized in the 12th.
Both sides missed chances to win the game.
“Football is usually fair,” Leverkusen's new coach Gerardo Seoane said after his Bundesliga debut. Swiss compatriot Urs Fischer, coach of Union Berlin, also said it was a “fair result.”
It was the first time Union avoided defeat in its opening Bundesliga game of the season at the third attempt.
Second-division champion Bochum got off to a bad start when Robert Tesche was sent off early for preventing a Wolfsburg goal with his arm.
Manuel Riemann saved Wout Weghorst's penalty, but the Dutch striker made up for his miss in the 22nd, when American John Brooks set him up for what proved to be the winner.
Wolfsburg offered supporters who bought five tickets for its game against Bochum a sixth ticket free in reference to using too many substitutions in the German Cup the weekend before. It could be thrown out of the competition as a result, with the German soccer federation due to make a decision on Monday.
Stuttgart's win was marred by a serious injury to 17-year-old forward Mohamed Sankoh.
Also, Hoffenheim won 4-0 at Augsburg and Freiburg drew 0-0 at Arminia Bielefeld. (AP)