Sebastien Haller says getting back on the pitch and scoring goals for Borussia Dortmund is a “bonus” after recovering from cancer.
The Ivory Coast international scored twice in Saturday’s 6-1 draw against Cologne to help Dortmund pass Bayern Munich, who travel to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
Despite playing football at an elite level only three months after undergoing testicular cancer surgery, Haller was criticized for his lack of goals.
The 28-year-old had only scored one goal in 12 games before the Cologne double, but now he’s happy to play his part.
“I am happy to be here and play in general. It’s all a bonus for me,” Haller, who joined Borussia Dortmund from Ajax in July, told Sport1.
“If you think that in just a few weeks everything that happened six months before is forgotten, that would be a big mistake.”
Even without scoring, Haller was still important to Dortmund in terms of their build-up, with his return to the team coinciding with a 10-game winning streak.
Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl said: “These goals will give him momentum.
“What has surfaced in the past few weeks is not justified after all the boy has been through. His work has paid off and he feels the support of the entire club.”
160 – Marco Reus scored his 160th professional goal for Borussia Dortmund, overtaking Michael Zork to become the only BVB professional football record holder. Write down. #BVBKOE pic.twitter.com/rIx4GCCjol
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) March 18, 2023
Marco Reus also scored twice in Dortmund’s win over Cologne, overtaking Michael Zork to become the club’s all-time professional-era goalscorer with 161 goals.
Longtime midfielder Reus has spent 11 seasons with Borussia Dortmund and has confirmed he intends to end his career at Westfalenstadion.
“In recent weeks, months, years, I have said that I would like to end my career here,” said Reus, whose current contract expires at the end of the season.
“I feel very good. we are negotiating [over a new deal]. Everything else will become clear in the coming weeks.”