Borussia Dortmund head coach Edin Terzić praises Donyell Malen and Niclas Füllkrug strike partnership

In the press conference ahead of Borussia Dortmund’s game with VFL Wolfsburg, Edin Terzić praised the work Donyell Malen and Niclas Füllkrug did up front against Freiburg.

Borussia Dortmund v Sport-Club Freiburg - Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund v Sport-Club Freiburg - Bundesliga / Ralf Ibing - firo sportphoto/GettyImages

In the lead up to Saturday’s away match against VFL Wolfsburg, head coach Edin Terzić touched on a variety of topics of interest regarding the squad, recent performances and available players. One of the most interesting points he touched on was the strike partnership between Niclas Füllkrug and Donyell Malen, which had been so successful in last week's clash with Freiburg. 

The two players had a combined total of three goals and and two assist between them, with the former assisting the latter for the game’s opener. Malen’s shot was the rifled into the back of the net, and it set the tone for what was to come. Terzić praised the partnership, which played a key role in making sure Dortmund took all three points:

"He [Füllkrug] also benefits from the fact that we played very disciplined in the offense. We've discussed some topics with him and the entire offensive line… The cooperation with Donny Malen worked really well. However, we hope that he hasn't reached his limit yet."

Edin Terzić

For Donyell Malen’s part, playing in a strike partnership was always going to elevate his game as this is a more natural position for him, as well as the position he found success with with PSV Eindhoven before moving to Germany. Füllkrug was a wonderful partner for Malen up front as his hold up play is strong and he has the ability to pick a pass and find Malen in those crucial areas, as we saw with the layoff for the first goal. 

The second goal also exhibited Füllkrug’s ability to pick a pass and find his strike partner, with Malen drifting wide-right in this scenario. The two seemed to be in tune with each other's play, and perhaps this partnership could see more minutes down the line. 

It is curious that it’s taken Dortmund so long to try a Malen-Füllkrug duo up front this season. At the end of last year and early this year it was reported that Malen had a clear preference of playing more centrally as opposed to where Terzić was deploying him, and considering his successful numbers with PSV it’s astounding to think he hasn’t seen more game time in this position.

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As for Füllkrug, his part in this success is not to be understated, as having a mature, experienced veteran at your side that’s able to be unselfish is a boon for any player up top. It will be interesting to see if a similar set up is deployed against Wolfsburg this weekend, and if so, whether they can keep up the momentum produced by the Freiburg game.