Sebastien Haller: Borussia Dortmund striker scores his first goal after returning from cancer treatment
It was a direct header from close range that gave Borussia Dortmund a 3-1 lead in the second half of their league game on Saturday, but the simplicity of the goal should not mask its significance.
Sebastien Haller’s goal was his first since returning to action three weeks ago after having to take time off to undergo treatment for testicular cancer.
Turns out he scored on World Cancer Day, an occasion the German club marked by putting a ‘tumor’ on the center circle before the game and at half-time to raise cancer awareness testicles.
The 28-year-old was diagnosed days after signing for Dortmund last summer and required two operations and four rounds of chemotherapy.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment since day one. When I scored the goal it felt like the whole stadium was on fire,” Haller told Sky Sports. “I’m happy, but there’s still a long way to go so we’ll keep walking and hope for more goals.”
Haller played his first league game for Dortmund on January 22 and made his first start for the German side a week later.
The Ivory Coast international scored 47 goals in 66 games for his former club Ajax during an 18-month spell, including 11 in the Champions League.
He signed for Dortmund on July 6 but began to feel unwell during a pre-season training camp in Switzerland later that month.
Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl told Sky Sports: “We were all happy for Sébastien. He has been working for a long time for this day, it is a big weight on his shoulders, we are all excited and delighted.
“He is able to play even better when he discovers his old rhythm. But the goal will help with this, of course.
Dortmund then beat 10-man Freiburg 5-1 to make it four wins from four league games. The win lifted Dortmund to third in the Bundesliga, two points behind leaders Union Berlin.
Freiburg sent off Kiliann Sildillia in the 17th minute for two bookable fouls less than three minutes apart.