Borussia Dortmund summer signing Donyell Malen broke his Bundesliga duck in BVB’s 2-1 home win against VfB Stuttgart, earning the €30 million purchase praise from his coach after the game.

“The entire game makes me very optimistic because he was very active off and on the ball,” Marco Rose said about the Dutch international following the home win that put the Black and Yellows within one point of Bayern Munich.

Malen showed his best performance in a Dortmund shirt since arriving from PSV amid mounting criticism. The 22-year-old’s increased work rate did not go unnoticed by his coach: “He put himself into the situations to score a goal. He set a benchmark in many areas for himself. Obviously, there’s room for improvement. Today, he didn’t wait for moments to happen for him but made them happen, and that’s the difference.”

One of those moments came in the 56. minute, when Malen took aim from 21 metres away from goal. The shot took a slight deflection off of Stuttgart defender Hiroki Ito before making its way to the back of the net.

Dortmund are hoping for the striker to quickly add to his scoring tally in Erling Haaland’s absence. The Norwegian superstar is recovering from a muscular injury, with an outside chance of a return before the turn of the year.