How do you stop Erling Haaland, the Norwegian super sensation in the striker of Borussia Dortmund? It is not only the question that Ajax coach Erik ten Hag has had to consider in recent days, it is also the question that he was faced with at the press conference.
It led to irritation with the coach, in the run-up to the Champions League match with the Germans in the Johan Cruijff Arena. “We don’t play against Haaland, we play against Borussia Dortmund,” said Ten Hag.
“It is an insult to the rest of Dortmund how you (the media, ed.) speak about Haaland. It is an excellent team, with a very good striker, which we as a team have to stop,” said Ten Hag resolutely.
First place at stake
It is the number one in the Netherlands against the number two in Germany. Both teams won their first two matches in the European tournament. A provisional first place is at stake in Amsterdam. Two weeks later Ajax goes to Dortmund.
“I still see Dortmund as a favorite in this group. I said that immediately after the draw,” said Ten Hag. “As Dutch clubs we sometimes have to know our place. But at the same time I think that no club in Europe likes to play against Ajax.”
The man who determines the line-up did not want to say anything about the eleven names that will appear at the kick-off on behalf of the national champion. And so it will be a guess until Tuesday evening whether Steven Berghuis will be preferred over Davy Klaassen in midfield.
Timber impressed by Haaland
In addition to Ten Hag, Jurriën Timber joined the press conference, one of the defenders that Haaland (good for 49 goals in 49 Bundesliga matches) must try to make harmless. “I don’t think I need to explain how good he is.”
“He is a world striker. I think the best against whom I have played football,” said Timber, who played against the Norway of Haaland in September with the Orange (1-1).