Donyell Malen has blossomed into a key player at Borussia Dortmund. - © Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Bundesliga
Donyell Malen has blossomed into a key player at Borussia Dortmund. - © Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Bundesliga

Donyell Malen: Who is Borussia Dortmund's flying Dutch forward?


You have to have talent, pace and determination in abundance to make it into Borussia Dortmund's free-scoring attacking department - and Donyell Malen fits the bill perfectly. profiles BVB's flying Dutchman...

Data correct as of 1 June 2024

Donyell Malen

Age: 25 (born 19 January 1999)
Borussia Dortmund
Netherlands (30 caps/ 6 goals) 

Key stats

Malen was born to a Surinamese father and a Dutch mother in Wieringen, in the Netherlands. His footballing talent became apparent early on, and in 2008 - at the age of just nine - he moved to Ajax's vaunted academy. Although he played for all his country's youth sides and was scouted by a number of European clubs, Malen didn't believe he could make it into the Ajax first team.

So, in 2015, Malen made the move to English Premier League club Arsenal, joining the youth team at the age of 16. The young Dutch attacker scored 44 times across two seasons in London, but before he could force his way into the senior side, PSV Eindhoven brought him back to his home country.

Malen switched to PSV in 2017, where he contributed 79 goals (55 scored, 24 assists) in 116 appearances. That move also saw him earn his first senior international caps for the Netherlands. He made his debut - and even scored - against Germany in November 2019.

Despite coming through at Ajax, Malen made a name for himself at PSV Eindhoven. - SCS/Sander Chamid via images/AFLOSPORT

Signed by Dortmund in summer 2021 to fill the void left by the departed Jadon Sancho, Malen scored nine times in 38 appearances in all competitions in his first season at the club. He hit 10 the following campaign and then a career-best 13 in the Bundesliga in 2023/24. The Netherlands flier has also produced 13 assists across his first 110 games for BVB.

Plays a bit like: Eden Hazard

Malen is almost the complete package when you think of a modern-day forward. The 25-year-old has already shown he can operate across the pitch in any attacking position, playing mostly as a centre-forward at PSV but now excelling from the right of Dortmund's attack.

Malen combines his incredible speed and technical ability on the ball with an eye for goal and aptitude for defensive work, which have endeared him to the Dortmund faithful.

Standing at 5'8", Malen is no big man up front, but rather a forward who prefers to run in behind to get defenders chasing him, or come short to link up with players around him. In that sense he is reminiscent Chelsea great Eden Hazard, whose squat dribbling style and long-range shooting made him a nightmare for defenders.

Watch: All of Donyell Malen's 2023/24 Bundesliga goals & assists

Did you know?

Malen has learned from two of world football's finest forwards during his career so far. He trained under Dennis Bergkamp in the Ajax U10s, while Thierry Henry was instrumental in his move to Arsenal, having been on the coaching staff of the U23s at the time.

What they're saying

"Donyell is extremely fast and very dangerous. If he has a chance, it's usually a goal, too. He's still young, but has really good abilities." - former Dortmund midfielder and PSV teammate Mario Götze

"Donyell is a player with great attacking potential, who radiates danger in front of goal, brings in his creativity and has a great deal of pace." - former Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc

"The question I actually want to ask him is: Do you want to become the best player in the world? Because he really has everything to become that. I am one hundred percent convinced of that." - Dutch 2010 World Cup runner-up Rafael van der Vaart