Germany: Bundesliga
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Union Berlin
J. Beste (59)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Maloney on facing ex-club: "I check in on Union frequently and happily."

The Bundesliga's current leading runner prepares to face his old academy club on Saturday. For German-American midfielder Lennard Maloney, it remains a special reunion. 
FC Heidenheim midfielder Lennard Maloney currently leads the Bundesliga in total distance covered. The 23-year-old has clocked nearly 64 kilometers total through five match-days. Players known for hard running - such as Julian Weigl (Gladbach), Ellyes Skhiri (Frankfurt), and Granit Xhaka (Leverkusen) - aren't even close to the German-American, who is averaging nearly 13 kilometers per match.

Speaking on his team's style of play during the pre-season, Maloney described Frank Schmidt's mantra as "sprint-intensive with lots of routes". Regarding the hard physical demands of his trainer, Maloney noted that he and his fellow squad members often had to "grit their teeth". One assumes that Maloney will be doing quite a bit of that when Heidenheim host his old academy club on Saturday.

Maloney not only came up through the 1. FC Union Berlin youth ranks, but is also a native of the capital city's Köpenick quarter in which Union reside. The Berlin-born Maloney nevertheless never really managed to gain a foothold during the East German side's miraculous rise to the top. He was loaned out several times being being picked up by Dortmund for the reserve side.

Finally having earned a starting place with his current BaWü border club, Maloney got a chance to be directly involved in a club's promotion to the top flight. The USMNT aspirant is off to a successful start this season, though he has made some defensive miscues and conceded two penalties in his five deployments. Asked to comment on facing his former side, as quoted by Michael Pfeiffer of Germany's Kicker Magazine, Maloney stuck to the basics.

"I check in on Union frequently and happily," Maloney said, "I still know a lot of people there and I know what the rise of the club means to the fans and everyone there."

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