The squad returned to Berlin-Köpenick with an impressive triumph on Monday night in Frankfurt. Yunus Malli played a part in that win, and the 27-year-old attacking midfielder will come up against his parent club on Sunday. Christian Arbeit met with the January signing to see how he is settling in at Union and the transition to a role in Urs Fischer’s team. The full interview is available in German in our matchday magazine.
CA: Yunus, we’d like to get to know you a little bit better as you are our most recent arrival. How are things going so far?
YM: Yes, really well. The team has given me a great welcome. They are cool guys and the atmosphere is good. If we can have more victories like against Frankfurt, then I’m sure it will be even better. I hope to continue like that.
It’s a bit unusual to go between Wolfsburg and Union in the January window. You are on loan — for now — until the end of the season. How did that come about?
I got a few appearances in the Hinrunde. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite fit anymore and we tried to find a solution. I really wanted to stay in the Bundesliga and then Union came along with interest. The talks were great and I immediately had a good feeling. So that’s why I took this step and so far I feel good. I’m doing my best to achieve our goals and enjoy it on the park again.
You came to us a creative, attacking midfielder. Most people know you as a classic number 10. In the last few games you started for us, you play outside right as we often play with just one in the middle. Still, you don’t get the impression that this role doesn’t suit you. Do you feel as comfortable there as up top?
My normal position is really the 10, but this isn’t used in our shape. That’s why I play wide where there is a lot of work off the ball. This is how we play, standing compact at the back, being organised and then taking the moments we have in attack. I always try to give my best and sure, I feel comfortable there. It's not like I'm playing in a foreign position now. I have played this position many times in the past, so that's why it's no problem for me.
How does it feel when you start to train with players who are used to playing a different style to what you did at previous clubs? If you look at the budget alone, Wolfsburg have players who cost a lot more money and maybe that's why they are much better individually. And then you come to a team whose job it is to fight back. Is that just as much fun?
Yes, there's no need to beat around the bush. Of course, I would rather have the ball on my foot than chasing after it. But I was aware that I'm coming to a club whose philosophy is to stand up and make it as difficult as possible for the opposing team to score goals and still be able to keep moving forward. The boys can also do something on the ball. It is also not that we only defend and the rest is secondary. There are also always phases in which we have good situations with the ball. For me it is important to join the work against the ball. I don't have my strengths in challenges or defensive work, but I can run a lot, give it all and help the team. Nevertheless, I'm an offensive player and I have to do something forward as well. That's also the demand I make on myself.