Sébastien Haller had a tumultuous maiden season with Borussia Dortmund following his transfer from Ajax last summer.
The Ivory Coast striker’s last 12 months have consisted of fighting cancer, making his comeback mid-season and leading his team’s title bid, and ending it with the pain of losing out to Bayern Munich on the title deciding final day of the season.
From an individual standpoint, the statistics from 2022/23 alone provide a hard forecast for Haller’s expected performance in the season ahead. In this article, we will use metrics from past data to have a deep look and ultimately predict how many goals the striker might score in 2023/24 for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
Brief tactical overview and Sébastien Haller’s importance to BVB
Before we get into all the nerdy content, it would be key to highlight how impressive of a player Sébastien Haller has been over the last 1.5 seasons – 1.5 of course, because he was out of action from summer 2023 until January 2023 due to his testicular cancer diagnosis and recovery.
Haller’s main strengths rely on him being an efficient target piece and possessing good movement, aerial threat and link up play abilities. He is also adept at creating spaces for himself and others and lastly his ability to drift inside from outside – something he learned while at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Under Erik Ten Hag at Ajax, Haller excelled as the target man. Unsurprisingly, Borussia Dortmund’s title charge in the second half of last season did not just happen to coincide with Haller’s return. He provided Edin Terzic with a catalyst, central to the target in a 4-1-4-1 style formation that was missing in the first half of the season.
Antony Modeste was brought in to temporarily replicate Haller’s impact. But he failed to do so, and Terzic had to rely on 17 year old Youssoufa Moukoko, who is still developing.
Despite BVB’s final day heartbreak, if there was a positive to look forward to it would be looking at what a full season with Sébastien Haller might look like. Next, we will begin to break down what the numbers could really mean.
(Attention, stat nerds!)