- Malli swapped Mainz for Wolfsburg earlier this month.
- Attacker has six goals and six assists so far this season.
- Wolfsburg eyeing fourth straight win on Matchday 18.
VfL Wolfsburg may not have had the best start to the 2016/17 Bundesliga campaign, but there is a new sense of optimism in the Wolves camp after three successive league wins and the arrival of some exciting winter signings.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, Turkey international Yunus Malli - one of the newcomers – discusses his move to the Volkswagen Arena and his hopes for the season.
bundesliga.com: Yunus Malli, you have been in Wolfsburg for a couple of weeks now and made your debut for the club on Matchday 17. How happy are you with your performance in the 1-0 triumph over Hamburger SV?
Yunus Malli: I was really happy to be back on the pitch, but the most important thing was that we started the year with three points. I felt very good while I was playing. There were some good moves, but also a few where we weren't quite on the same wavelength. But on the whole it was ok. I'm sure it'll get better with each game. And we want to build on that against Augsburg on Saturday.
Watch: Highlights of Wolfsburg's Matchday 17 victory over Hamburger SV:
bundesliga.com: What is the atmosphere like in Wolfsburg? Has a bit of the tension eased after three consecutive wins?
Malli: When I joined up with the team at the training camp I noticed that the atmosphere was good. The two wins before the winter break had created an air of optimism. The self-confidence has returned and grows with every victory.
bundesliga.com: You had a good first half of the season at 1. FSV Mainz 05, scoring six and providing six assists. With that in mind, why did you move to Wolfsburg?
Malli: I had five and a half great years in Mainz, but the time had come for me to do something new. I wanted to stay in the Bundesliga and Wolfsburg were the ones who made a lot of effort to sign me, they really wanted to have me. I can develop here and become a better player.
bundesliga.com: What does head coach Valerien Ismael expect from you? How is he planning to utilise you?
Malli: During our talks he emphasised that he wants to play me as a number 10. Obviously there's competition for places, but I played in that position for Mainz for several years and did well.
bundesliga.com: What can Wolfsburg achieve in the second half of the season? You are currently ten points behind sixth place – can you catch up?
Malli: That'll be very difficult. We're trying to continue our run but the best thing to do is take it game by game. We've taken the first step and now against Augsburg we have the next opportunity to pick up points. We'll have to wait and see how far we go.
bundesliga.com: What are you expecting from the match against Augsburg on Saturday?
Malli: They'll try to stay compact and close down the space. We need to keep the ball moving and be incisive in the final third. We'll need to be patient, as we were against Hamburg, and can't give anything away at the back. If we can do that, I'm optimistic we'll get our next win.
Yunus Malli was speaking to Tobias Gonscherowski