THE BIG question in Germany is whether this is the year that Bayern Munich might be toppled.
Normally I thought the only team that could beat Bayern was themselves, if they come across problems.
What’s clear is that, for the first time in a while, they have real challengers — and Dortmund have two absolute stars in Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland.
The next week is going to be critical in the title race. This weekend, Dortmund play at Wolfsburg, who are on fire, while Munich have Frankfurt at home.
But then they have to go to Dortmund midweek. So it could be a ten-point gap — or just one.
Whatever happens, a lot of people will be watching to see what Sancho and Haaland do.
I love watching Jadon and how he has developed over the last few seasons at Dortmund.
Since Erling moved there in January he has got most of the headlines because of his goals.
But Sancho could have got them too because he is unbelievable in producing assists and goals for his team-mates.
Jadon has been able to run matches all on his own and is one of those players who, as soon as they get the ball, has people standing up expecting something special.
He’s turning into a better footballer all the time, reading the game so well.
Erling enables them to stretch the game and that has given their technical players even more space. He’s a No9 who can do everything and has taken Dortmund to the next level.
Jan Aage Fjortoft
It seems to me he can play everywhere — wide on the left or right, behind the strikers or pushing through from the middle.
That makes him so hard to mark. And Erling can make him even better because he stretches the game and creates more chances for Sancho to go one-on-one — and there aren’t many who can stop him like that.
But, of course, Haaland has been the sensation of the season.
Throughout his career, along with father Alf-Inge, he has been thinking of his development and what was the best arena for that.
Right from the start, when I saw him score four for Molde against Bergen, I could see he had unbelievable movement and the eye of the tiger, a real hunger for goals.
Juventus offered him a fantastic contract and there were lots of other clubs mentioned, but he chose Salzburg for his next stage.
I saw him playing for them at Anfield in the Champions League. He came on as a sub and scored, but what I also saw was sensational movement.
I ended up just watching him because of the way he created chances for himself and for his movement into space. He could have been one-on-one with the keeper three or four times if the passes had matched his runs.
People see his goals, strength and enormous speed but what I noticed was how wise he is in creating space for himself.
When I was younger I remember watching Gary Lineker.
I couldn’t understand how one of the best strikers of that generation was always in so much room that he got the ball unmarked in front of goal.
I spent hours watching videos, pressing rewind and fast forward trying to understand his runs.
It’s a real skill that you shouldn’t underestimate and Erling has it as well.
Dortmund was the perfect club for the next stage of his career, with that famous Yellow Wall and 81,000 fans at every home game.
They have a tradition of taking good players and making them great, doing it with Aubameyang, Lewandowski, Mkhitaryan and Dembele. Now they are doing it with Haaland and Sancho.
Since the Norwegian moved to Dortmund in January I’ve watched every game live and from the first time he came on, against Augsburg, it was clear he had something different that I’d never seen before.
Dortmund have some fantastic players in Marco Reus, Julian Brandt and Sancho, but suddenly they were looking for Haaland as they knew he would find space.
Erling enables them to stretch the game and that has given their technical players even more space.
He’s a No9 who can do everything else as well and has taken them to the next level.
It’s obvious he enjoys scoring but he has the same enjoyment when the rest of his team score and celebrates those goals just as much as his own.
I was disappointed to see him criticised for some clips of a television interview.
What I can say is that I’ve interviewed him a few times and never had any problems. What I see is a boy with a cheeky sense of humour.
If you ask him yes-no questions there’s a good chance you’ll get yes-no answers. It’s about asking him the right questions and letting him express himself.
There are plenty of 19-year-olds who hardly speak to their girlfriends, let alone entertain the world and we shouldn’t expect him to be the rhetorical nephew of Barack Obama.
He certainly wasn’t trying to make people look stupid. He always stops for interviews — many players don’t.
I know he wants to learn from everything. He is trying to do the right things. As far as I’m concerned he’s a kid with a great attitude, loved by his team-mates and not at all selfish on the pitch.
That’s not always typical for somebody with so much talent.
There’s one other thing. He was born in Leeds and his father played for two Premier League clubs, so he will end up in England one day.
- Jan Aage Fjortoft is a European football expert for Viasport and other channels, with an intimate knowledge of the Bundesliga.