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Roman Weidenfeller - Erling Haaland is the future of Borussia Dortmund

12:51 PM IST 02/02/20
Roman Weidenfeller Tottenham Hotspur Borussia Dortmund Europa League 17032016
The Borussia Dortmund legend spoke about the talent in the current squad and urged the youngsters to work hard...

With talented youngsters like Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho and Julian Brandt leading the charge, Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund have a bright future, according to former goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.

The 39-year-old wants the young stars to place their trust in the club and stay there for a long time.

“If the players believe in Dortmund, stay in Dortmund, there is a big future. We signed Emre Can. So we have a good balance of youngsters and experienced (older) players. We need it for international football and club football in the Bundesliga,” the former custodian told Goal after attending a football clinic in Bengaluru, India.

The World Cup winner has already had a flavour of the Indian footballing ecosystem. He attended a football clinic on Saturday morning and was impressed with what he saw.

“We had a football clinic in the morning. It was fantastic to see how many people from India play football. It was a pleasure for me to interact with these guys,” he said.

Weidenfeller felt that clubs need to establish a connection with the local fans in order to have more and more people take the sport up seriously.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola recently urged the fans to turn up to games, regardless of the magnitude of the fixture. This comment was triggered by poor attendance at the Etihad Stadium in City’s FA Cup win over Fulham. Dortmund fans are famous for filling the stands every game, independent of the circumstances.

Weidenfeller explained what playing ‘the BVB way’ meant and how the connection with the fans pushes the players to perform better.

“We are close to the people. In Germany and all around the world, we go close to the people and say ‘Hey, we are Black and Yellow. We have a very nice stadium. We have our Yellow Wall. We play fantastic football.’ Everybody likes to win but we play forward and play a good style of football,” he explained.

“It’s a fantastic feeling to play in front of the Yellow Wall. They push you to give your everything for the 90 minutes. It’s fantastic to see how many people stand behind the Yellow Wall. Pep Guardiola told this story and Ilkay Gundogan told Kicker that the atmosphere in German stadium is different when compared to the Premier League and English stadiums. In the German stadiums, everyone is singing and pushing the team.”

Dortmund’s new signing Haaland has been in sensational form, scoring seven goals in three games, starting in just one of those. The former custodian hailed the youngster and labelled him as the future of the club.

"He (Haaland) goes straight to the goal. He has done a fantastic job so far. He did not even play the entire 90 minutes in the first two matches. In the first game, he came on for the last 20 minutes and scored three goals and in the last game, he came on for the last 20 minutes and scored two goals. It’s fantastic. He is a very young player. He is very powerful, tall, and he uses his head fantastically. He is the future of Borussia Dortmund.

“Of course (He will lead the charge for title contention). We are on the road. It’s very close now. Bayern (Munich), (RB) Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach and we are (in it),” Weidenfeller said, when asked about the tight tussle at the top of the Bundesliga table.

He also had some advice for young sensation Sancho who is enjoying a tremendous second season at the club. The 19-year-old has scored 12 goals and provided as many in the Bundesliga already this season. While Weidenfeller does not doubt the Englishman’s quality, he believes that it is in the best interest of all parties that he carries the good work and do what is best for the team.

“He (Sancho) is one of the best youngsters in the world, but he needs to work every day. It is not enough if he plays two seasons very well for Dortmund. It is very important for him and our team that he plays every three days powerful and make the best for the team. It’s not enough to have the talent, it’s important to work for the team,” he said.

Finally, the German shared his thoughts on the possibility of Dortmund upsetting Paris Saint Germain (PSG) in the last-16 of the Champions League, maintaining that anything is possible.

“It is not easy (to beat PSG) but it is possible. I think they have a great team but sometimes they don’t play great. If we have a little bit of luck and have a good day, anything is possible," he concluded.