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Dolberg back on track

Publish on 18/08/2021 at 12:00

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Kasper Dolberg (OGC Nice) scored twice in the 4-0 Round 2 win over Ligue 1 Uber Eats champions LOSC, making a more-than-convincing return to action with Les Aiglons.

LOSC are in fact the opponents who have brought out the best in Kasper Dolberg in Ligue 1 Uber Eats. The Danish international scored twice in Saturday's spectacular 4-0 win over the reigning champs, taking his tally to four goals in four matches against the northerners.

Dolberg, who got three of his five shots on target against Les Dogues, was making his first start of the campaign after coming on as a substitute against Reims in Nice's season opener. A successful return to action following an extended break in the wake of a strong showing with his country at Euro 2020 - and a good way to put a difficult season 2020-21 behind him.

Fifth Ligue 1 Uber Eats double

After being the victim of a burglary, and then of repeated injuries - as well as two Covid-19 infections - followed by an appendectomy, Dolberg had a tough campaign: just six goals, after bagging 11 - not including penalties - in 2019-20.

But in a Nice team that is still young but growing in experience, the Scandinavian striker is just waiting to take off again.

Still just as intelligent and elegant in his movement and even more involved in pressing, the 23-year-old striker showed against Reims that he is still a force to be reckoned with, even though he might not yet have 90 minutes in his legs. His performance and his efficiency in 66 minutes of play against Lille - not to mention his fifth Ligue 1 Uber Eats double - confirmed that it's all systems go for the young Dane.

Galtier: 'He can do much, much better'

Indeed, he seems to be licking up where he left off in a successful Euro 2020 campaign. After a great start against Russia in the group stage, he scored twice - a beautiful curled shot from the edge of the box and a tight finish from a rebound - and provided an assist against Wales in the round of 16 (4-0). It was his best performance so far for his national team, for whom he earned his first cap in November 2016 (ten goals in 30 games), and he followed up with another important goal against the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals (1-2).

Long before Dolberg returned to Nice, new Gym boss Christophe Galtier didn't miss a minute of his No. 9's Euro 2020 performances, learning all he could about the man and the footballer who was a driving force for OGC Nice in the 2019-20 season. Galtier is counting on Dolberg eye for goal, an attribute that was on full display during the Euro.

"Not everything went well in his adaptation here, but he is a talented striker whose body language may suggest he is unhappy. But my information tells me that he is anything but," Galtier told L'Equipe. "And he can do much, much better."

The Dutch connection

The Côte d'Azur side's 4-4-2 formation is still a work in progress - due to the absence of Dutch international winger Calvin Stengs, who is out with a thigh injury - and the attacking line-up found itself without a solution in front of a compact Reims defence as Dolberg watched on from the sidelines in Round 1.

But pre-existing connections, such as the one between Justin Kluivert, son of Patrick - the great star of the 'Oranje' who ended his career at LOSC - and Kasper Dolberg will surely accelerate the development of the collective game dear to Galtier's heart.

Both speak Dutch but also the same football language, which they learned together at the Ajax academy. Barring a cosmic shift, Kasper Dolberg looks all set to take off once again...


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