"My first season was one with ups and downs, but that's not unexpected," he told Dutch sports magazine Elfvoetbal, promising: "From season to season, things will get better and better." And the stats back up that development: Donyell Malen scored only one goal in the first 17 competitive games for the BVB until the end of November 2021. In the following 21 competitive games – up to his injury in April 2021 and the premature end of his season – the Dutchman found the net eight times. He also hit the post and the bar three times.
He has been impressed by the power of the BVB: "Wherever we go, Borussia Dortmund have a large fan base. That's different to what I was used to at PSV." He is thrilled by a packed-out SIGNAL IDUNA PARK: "When we played back at home in front of a full stadium for the first time since the pandemic, I realised how cool it is to be a part of it. I was really impressed. Only then did I realise how big the stadium is and how many fans the club have."
Donyell Malen was born on 19 January 1999 in Wieringen (North Holland) as the son of a Dutch mother and a Surinamese father, a former professional footballer. At the age of five, he joined his first club. When he was nine years old, he joined the Ajax academy, where he played with current senior international stars Matthias de Ligt and Justin Kluivert and was trained by former world-class player Dennis Bergkamp. To make that happen, his mother Mariska took a lot on, driving her son almost daily to Amsterdam – 40 kilometres there, 40 kilometres back – so that he could train in the youth academy.
In the B-youth team, Malen made the jump to the Arsenal academy. After scoring 44 goals in two years, he was on the verge of breaking into the first team squad, but shortly before the start of the 2017/18 season, he headed back from London to his home country and accepted an offer from PSV Eindhoven. One day before his 19th birthday, he made his debut in the Eredivisie under coach Mark von Bommel on 14 September 2019 and managed the feat of scoring all five goals for his team in the 5-0 win over Vitesse Arnhem.
After having played for all Dutch youth teams since the U15s and having reached the European Championship finals with the U17s in 2016, Donyell Malen made his debut for the senior national team on 6 September 2019 in the 4-2 victory over Germany. He has played 19 times for his country (as of June 2022), playing 90 minutes for the first time on 18 November 2020 in the UEFA Nations League against Poland. He played about half of his international matches as a central striker and the other half on the two wings. He is a fast player (top speed: 34.7 kph) with a strong right-footed shot. He can be deployed up-front, as a solo striker or as one of two attackers, but also on the wings in a 4-1-4-1 or 4-3-3 formation. In 2020/21, he was involved in 37 goals (27 goals, 10 assists) for PSV Eindhoven in 45 competitive games.