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Donyell Malen opens up on his first season with Borussia Dortmund ahead of the 2022-23 campaign

The Dutch international could be in line for a massive increase in responsibility after a worrying medical issue with summer signing Sébastien Haller

Borussia Dortmund is once again in the spotlight in the run-up to the 2022-23 Bundesliga season as Edin Terzić’s men will be desperate to push rivals Bayern Munich to the end of the campaign.

Both Dortmund and Bayern lost their leading number nine’s after both Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski departed Germany for Manchester City and Barcelona respectively, and in turn, the pair of German giants replaced their losses with Sadio Mané – and in Dortmund’s case – both Sébastien Haller and German starlet Karim Adeyemi.

Despite the excitement around Haller, the 28-year-old Ivorian will be out of contention for a few months in the wake of a worrying discovery in pre-season that Haller had a testicular tumor. Though he has since gone through a successful surgical procedure, club director Sebastien Kehl confirmed that he would be out until the latter stages of the Hinrunde.

Though the aforementioned Adeyemi comes with massive long-term expectations after rising to prominence at leading Austrian club RB Salzburg, Donyell Malen arrived last season amid expectations of his own in the wake of his impressive performances for Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven but ultimately struggled overall in his inaugural season in the Ruhr Valley.

But when speaking with Sport1′s Patrick Berger, Malen shed light on his first twelve months in Germany, and his optimism for 2022-23.

“I have set myself a lot of goals for the new season. I want to improve every day and I will improve. I am convinced of that. My first year was okay, I had some good but also bad moments. But overall I am very optimistic that it will be a better year and that I can help the team with my goals.”

On Terzić, Malen painted a picture of a manager who is intent on correcting the considerable issues that came to light last season under Marco Rose.

“He is very open, communicative, positive and he works hard. His style suits me. Hopefully, we will be successful with this coach. We had several meetings with him and the coaching team. He has ideas about working with the ball and in defense. That’s where we have to get better. There are still some things we need to improve on.”

Malen then spoke about the positive influence he receives from playing at such a well-supported club in comparison to PSV who – through no fault of their own – do not have the global following that Dortmund can boast.

“Attention [in terms of the difference between both clubs]. No matter where we go: There are always fans there. Even at the training camp in Switzerland. The first time I played in a full stadium, it was incredible. It really releases strength. The feeling will always stay with me. I want to score many more goals in front of these fans.”

And in a response to being asked whether he preferred to play as a center-forward or out wide, Malen gave an answer that could be an easter egg for the coming year at Signal Iduna Park.

“I’ve always enjoyed doing both throughout my life and I think I’m good at both. I don’t want to commit myself at all. No matter where I play: I want to score goals and contribute to success.”

Though Sebastien Kehl hinted that Dortmund is possibly looking at market solutions given the news surrounding Haller when he said “We are preparing for different scenarios. Edin, [CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke], and I are talking to the scouting department and working on different options and ideas. Nothing concrete at the moment,” there exists a possible scenario that Malen could be deployed on the left flank with Adeyemi through the middle and Giovani Reyna on the right with Marco Reus in the number 10 role.

What is clear is that Malen seems primed and motivated for what could possibly be yet another incredibly important season for Die Schwarzgelben both at home and abroad.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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