Man City's Erling Haaland thwarted by epic recovery run vs Bayern Munich

  • Kobe Tong
Haaland's Man City debut.

Erling Braut Haaland made a promising start to life as a Manchester City player this weekend.

Arriving at the club this summer to great fanfare despite a relatively ‘cheap’ transfer fee of £51 million, Haaland had the eyes of the world glued to him as he took to the pitch in sky blue for the very first time.

Football fans had already gotten a taste of Gabriel Jesus at Arsenal, Raheem Sterling at Chelsea and Raphinha at Barcelona amongst the pre-season madness, but Haaland’s debut was arguably the most hotly anticipated of all.

Haaland impresses on his debut

So, it told you everything you needed to know about the 22-year-old tipped to be a Ballon d’Or winner one day that he calmed all the nerves, pressure and expectations within just 12 minutes.

In what proved to be the winning strike for City against Bayern Munich at Lambeau Field, Haaland opened his account for the Citizens by sliding Jack Grealish’s cross into the back of the net from close range.

It might not have been a FIFA Puskas Award contender that would be splattered across every back page in the world, but boy was it an indicator of what Haaland can offer City as a more traditional number nine.

That being said, Haaland didn’t have everything his own way in Green Bay, which is perhaps to be expected considering how much his old Borussia Dortmund team used to struggle against Bayern at times.

Haaland warms up for Man City.
Jul 23, 2022; Green Bay, WI, USA; Manchester City forward Erling Haaland (9) warms up prior to the game against FC Bayern Munich at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Upamecano’s epic recovery vs Haaland

And we say that because the Norway international had a brilliant opportunity to double his money snuffed out by some heroic defending from Dayot Upamecano.

With 15 minutes on the clock, Haaland latched onto a misplaced Bayern header to start running clear of the Germans’ back line with a caught-off-guard Upamecano fully five yards behind the City striker.

While that might not sound particularly irrecoverable, Bundesliga fans will be well aware that Haaland is one of the fastest strikers in the business and is seldom caught when he gets in behind.

However, a lung-busting run from Upamecano just happened to buck that trend as he not only made up the distance on Haaland as he reached the box, but also dived in with an epic tackle at just the right time.

It was simultaneously a brilliant showcase for Upamecano in the heart of Bayern’s defence and a demonstration of the lengths you need to go to in order to stop Haaland, so be sure to check it out below:

Take a bow, son, take a bow.

What it takes to stop Haaland

While it’s hard to be certain, it looks as though Haaland was just about to channel some Pep Guardiola tiki-taka by cutting the ball across the penalty area, but – shot or pass – it didn’t matter either way.

That’s because Upamecano went flying in with a tackle so thunderous that the subsequent sound of the ball pinging into the advertising hoardings was just as satisfying as a prospective goal hitting the back of the net.

Nevertheless, in the end, Haaland still had the last laugh as he rounded off his City debut with a victory and goal over one of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Haaland in action vs Bayern.
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – JULY 23: Erling Haaland of Manchester City looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Bayern Munich and Manchester City at Lambeau Field on July 23, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Premier League defenders will just have to take a leaf out of Upamecano’s book when it comes to the near-impossible challenge of trying to stop Haaland from scoring this season. Good luck, lads.

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