Haller: Europe’s fiery striker
Ajax has been one of the three teams who won all six matches in the UEFA Champions League group stages, and this was the first time in the tournament’s history where three teams simultaneously won all the matches. Ajax also created a new record by winning all the games. They became the first Dutch side to do so. Ajax went into the last and final game against Sporting after getting the top spot and a last 16 place, but Erik ten Hag’s side were looking to become the first Dutch side to win all six games in the group stages, and they did it. Football betting on Ajax is pretty reliable this season.
When Ajax was winning all these matches, one player was vital to Erik Ten Hag’s side. It was a surprise for everyone. The player was Sebastien Haller. Currently, he is the top scorer of this season’s UCL with ten goals. One more than Robert Lewandowski. Four more than Cristiano Ronaldo and Five more than Lionel Messi. What a season is he having in the Champions League!
In the opening match against Sporting in Group C, Haller scored four goals. He became only the second player to score four goals on their Champions League debut, joining Marco van Basten. Van Basten struck four times when Milan defeated Gothenburg 4-0 at San Siro in the inaugural Champions League season of 1992-93.
Haller also achieved another record after scoring those goals. He became the first player in Champions League history to score a double in their first nine minutes of the match.
He scored one goal in the second matchday, which was against Besiktas. In the third match, he had a crucial role in thrashing Borussia Dortmund. He scored a goal, and it was his sixth goal in UCL. He started to keep his consistency and again scored a goal in the fourth match, which was against Dortmund. He scored a brace against Besiktas in the fifth match and helped the team qualify for the Round of 16 and seal the top spot.
After scoring in the final group stage match, Haller matched a record previously only held by Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo. He has become the second player in Champions League history to score in all six matches of a single group stage.
The former West Ham striker has passed Alessandro del Piero (Juventus, 1995-96), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid, 2013-14) and Erling Braut Haaland (RB Salzburg, 2019-20). They all scored in their first five Champions League outings.
He was considered as a West Ham flop. But right now, he is one of the most in-form players. Haller has also now scored as many CL goals this season as he did in all of his time at West Ham – 10 goals!