Lennard Maloney has been called up for the USMNT and could make his debut against Julian Nagelsmann's Germany. What else is there to know about the Heidenheim youngster?
Age: 23 (born 8 October 1999)
Position: Defensive midfielder/centre-back
Country: USA (U20 cap)/Germany (U19 cap)
Key stats and facts
Born to an American Air Force veteran father and German mother in Berlin, Maloney joined Union Berlin's academy aged 13 in 2012. He swiftly progressed through the age categories and became a mainstay in the U19 side in 2017/18, making 23 appearances. The teenager impressed then first-team head coach Andre Hofschneider so much that he was handed his senior debut in Bundesliga 2 on Matchday 28 that season - at the tender age of 18.
Maloney barely featured for his club at any level in 2018/19, though, as he divided his time between training and studying for his Abitur, the German equivalent of A-Levels or a High School leaving certificate. Exams passed, he signed a contract extension in April 2019 before spending the second half of the following campaign on loan at Chemnitzer in Germany's Third Division.
Once ready to focus on his football full-time, Maloney joined Borussia Dortmund in August 2020 - playing for one of the strongest reserve sides in the country and rubbing shoulders with future USMNT teammate Gio Reyna in training. He was handed his full debut on Matchday 9 of the 2021/22 campaign, replacing Mats Hummels late on in a 3-1 win at Arminia Bielefeld, but first-team opportunities were at a premium.
Maloney dropped down a division in pursuit of more senior football, joining Heidenheim last summer, and while expectations for club and player might have been muted, he ended up powering them to Bundesliga promotion as champions, making 31 appearances at the base of their midfield.
Now six games into Heidenheim's first ever top-flight season, he has already done enough to earn a call-up to Gregg Berhalter's USMNT squad for their upcoming friendlies against Germany and Ghana, having last been invited across the pond at U20 level in 2018.
Plays a bit like: Tyler Adams
At 6'2", Maloney may be significantly taller than former RB Leipzig man Tyler Adams, now of Bournemouth, but there are stylistic similarities between the two. Adams covered more distance than any other player per 90 minutes as the US reached the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last winter, and Maloney has already run a Bundesliga-high 76.7km (47.7 miles) in the current campaign. It's no coincidence that Maloney was the man called with Adams injured.
Did you know?
If he makes his USMNT debut against Germany - or indeed Ghana - Maloney will become the first Heidenheim player ever to represent his country at full international level.
What they're saying
"Playing for the United States is one of my greatest dreams. Of course it's also nice to play for Germany. But deep inside my heart, I really want to play for the USA. I don't know why, this feeling is just there."
- Maloney speaking to AmericanSoccerNow in 2018
"What really attracted the staff to him is how he plays the game with really a lot of emotion, with a lot of passion. You see him clapping for his teammates, you see him going into tackles, a really committed player, really team-orientated player, and we're excited to have him into camp and see what he can do."
- Berhalter on Maloney's call-up
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