‘Did a few things differently’

‘Did a few things differently’
Donyell Malen

NOS Soccer

Donyell Malen had a chance to break Bayern Munich’s hegemony with Borussia Dortmund less than two weeks ago. However, Malen saw the Bavarian team run away with the national title in the closing minutes.

The striker has since joined the Dutch national team in Zeist, but he has not yet lost the disappointment of the loss. Where Matthijs de Ligt could cheer with Bayern, Malen still feels the pain in his body: “You still feel that you have lost something.”

There was no lack of belief in their own abilities. The team had only lost once at home this season and yet, against Mainz 05, they quickly found themselves two goals behind. “You know it gets difficult then. The belief was still there. We went full steam ahead, but a lot can happen in soccer,” said the 21-time international.

Malen on losing the Bundesliga

Although the disastrous loss to Dortmund on that Saturday afternoon in May will continue to haunt the back of Malen’s mind for a while, the 24-year-old soccer player steps back onto the pitch with good spirits. Completely forgotten is not in the cards. His teammates will make sure of that by asking how it could have happened.

Fortunately, the reunion with De Ligt went smoothly: “Matthijs didn’t know what to say. I said: you don’t have to say anything at all. It’s part of the sport and it’s a rock-hard world.”

Right outside problem

Still, Malen has had a good few months. After a period of illness and soreness, the striker has accounted for nine goals and three assists at Dortmund this year alone. How is it that he is now playing the stars? “I did a few things differently.”

A combination of going to the gym and then more playing time at his club has led to his growing form, which Koeman is also pleased with. Malen has been one of the first names on the national coach’s list and the solution to Orange’s right wing problem in Koeman’s eyes. With Steven Bergwijn, Xavi Simons and Noa Lang, the national coach has outfielders who prefer to play on the left flank.

Malen considers it a nice compliment, but otherwise does not think too much about it. After all, he is not surprised at himself: “I know I can still play good soccer.”

Malen on his growing form: ‘I did a few things differently’

Not only losing the Bundesliga is still haunting Malen’s mind. The underwhelming international against France (0-4) is also one to quickly forget. All the harsh words have already been spoken about it, according to the Oranje international. Now it is time to look forward and stay positive.

The team will get another chance in the Nations League to show that they still belong to the top after all. Sunday, June 18, the final of the tournament will take place. To have a chance of winning this, the Netherlands must see off Croatia next Wednesday.

One thing is certain, Malen is on the field with plenty of motivation: “Prize is prize. I already missed out on one, so I would love to win this one.”

Kayleigh Williams