The Curious Case Of Erling Haaland And The Debut Hat-Trick That Never Was

A hat-trick is a little harder to claim over in Germany and here's why
14:01, 20 Jan 2020

Erling Haaland made his debut for Borussia Dortmund at the weekend and it couldn't have gone much better for him or his new employers.

The 'Schwarzgelben' had been 3-1 down to fellow Bundesliga outfit Augsburg before the Norwegian starlet was brought on for his maiden appearance in the black and gold of Dortmund at 56 minutes. 

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The teenager didn’t wait long to make everyone in attendance aware that he was indeed present and prolific, scoring the first of his trio within three minutes.

A brace was secured ten minutes later, before Haaland secured the 5-3 win on the 78th minute with a storming run into the opposition area.

The performance, to quote Chris Eubank on a hot summer's day, was "stupendous". The hat-trick, however, will not go down in the record books. And here's why - because according to German footballing standards, it has to be flawless.

So what part of Haaland's second-half treble do our German friends have a problem with? 

A ‘lupenreiner’ (flawless) hat-trick in Deutschland is completed not only in the space of the same half (so far so good for Haaland) but also without interruption i.e. not intersecting scorers - something which Haaland’s attacking teammate, England’s Jason Sancho, inadvertently made sure didn’t happen with his 61-minute strike, less than 120 seconds after Haaland’s first. No doubt Sancho had to apologise to the 6 foot 4 inch giant from Scandinavia in their post-match revelry.

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German football expert Raphael Honigstein told BBC Radio 5 Live: "In Germany, for some reason, we don't consider this a proper hat-trick.

"It needs to be in one half, but also, nobody scoring in between. We are so German we don't consider it a hat-trick.

"Haaland doesn't care. I saw him going off with the match ball."

Haaland was pictured holding the match ball with a giant Cheshire Cat-smile after the game, so it seems unlikely that the 19-year-old forward cares too much whether his hat-trick was legitimate in his new home country or not.

He told reporters after the game: "I'm at a fantastic club with great team-mates and good people around me. I came here to score goals and it was a good debut for me."