Junior Malanda

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Junior Malanda
Krasnodar-Wolfsburg (15).jpg
Malanda with Wolfsburg in 2014
Personal information
Full name Bernard Malanda-Adje
Date of birth (1994-08-28)28 August 1994
Place of birth Brussels, Belgium
Date of death 10 January 2015(2015-01-10) (aged 20)
Place of death Porta Westfalica, Germany
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Youth career
2000–2001 VK Sint-Agatha-Berchem
2001–2003 FC Ganshoren
2003–2004 RSCUP Dieleghem Jette
2004–2005 Brussels
2005–2007 Anderlecht
2007–2012 Lille
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2011–2012 Lille II 17 (1)
2012–2013 Zulte Waregem 35 (3)
2013–2015 VfL Wolfsburg 17 (2)
2013Zulte Waregem (loan) 17 (3)
Total 86 (9)
National team
2009 Belgium U15 8 (0)
2009–2010 Belgium U16 10 (0)
2010–2011 Belgium U17 9 (0)
2011–2012 Belgium U18 4 (0)
2012 Belgium U19 7 (0)
2013–2014 Belgium U21 15 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Bernard Malanda-Adje (28 August 1994 – 10 January 2015), nicknamed Junior Malanda, was a Belgian professional footballer who last played for German club VfL Wolfsburg as a defensive midfielder.[1]

He was a youth team player at Brussels, Anderlecht and Lille, going on to play in the reserve team of the latter. In 2012, he joined Zulte Waregem, and was a regular player as they finished runners-up of the 2012–13 Belgian Pro League. After that he was signed by Wolfsburg of the Bundesliga on a five-year contract, loaning him back for the first season before recalling him. He also represented Belgium up to under-21 level.

Malanda died at the age of 20, when a car in which he was travelling crashed in northern Germany, killing him instantly. The accident was attributed to excessive speed and wet conditions. Over 1,000 mourners attended his funeral at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in his native Brussels.


Early career[edit]

Formerly of the youth teams of the Belgian clubs RWDM Brussels FC and R.S.C. Anderlecht, Malanda joined French Ligue 1 club Lille OSC in 2007. He spent the 2010–11 season with their reserves in the Championnat de France amateur, the fourth tier of football in the country. He made his debut on 9 October 2011, playing the entirety of a 1–0 win away to Drancy.[2] Malanda made 17 league appearances that season, scoring a solitary goal, an 88th-minute equaliser in a 1–1 home draw against Poissy on 20 May 2012.[3]

Zulte Waregem[edit]

On 7 July 2012, 17-year-old Malanda returned to Belgium, signing a three-year deal with Zulte Waregem, with the option of an additional two.[4] He made his debut in the Belgian Pro League on 5 August, replacing Hernán Hinostroza in the 57th minute of a 3–1 win against Gent at the Regenboogstadion.[5] Malanda played 36 league matches as his team finished as runners-up to Anderlecht, scoring 3 goals, starting with an equaliser on 16 December as Zulte Waregem came from a goal down to defeat Genk in a home fixture.[6] He also scored the decisive goal on 21 April 2013, when his team defeated the eventual champions 2–1.[7]

On 1 August 2013, VfL Wolfsburg signed Malanda on a five-year deal, with him being loaned back to Zulte Waregem for the rest of the season.[8] Six days later, he made his debut in a European competition, featuring in a 0–3 home defeat against Dutch club PSV Eindhoven which saw Zulte Waregem eliminated from the UEFA Champions League.[9] Malanda played 8 matches in the club's UEFA Europa League campaign, and scored twice: opening a 1–1 draw against APOEL Nicosia in the play-offs,[10] and netting an 88th-minute winner in a 2–1 group stage triumph away to Wigan Athletic on 28 November.[11]


Malanda was recalled by Wolfsburg manager Dieter Hecking on 1 January 2014.[12] On the 25th, he was included in a Wolfsburg matchday squad for the first time, an unused substitute in a 1–3 home defeat against Hannover 96.[13] He made his debut on 8 February, replacing Christian Träsch for the last 8 minutes of a 3–0 home win against 1. FSV Mainz 05.[14]

On 25 March, he scored his first goal for the club, opening a 3–1 win at Werder Bremen in the second minute.[15] He added a second on 12 April, finishing off a 4–1 win against 1. FC Nürnberg.[16] However, an injury then put Malanda out for the remainder of the 2013–14 season.[17]

International career[edit]

While aged 17, Malanda captained the Belgium national under-19 football team.[4]

Playing style[edit]

Earlier in his career, Malanda played as a right back.[4] On his recall to Wolfsburg, Sporting Director Klaus Allofs said "After we signed him, we have been following his development closely. Over the last half year, he has convinced us with his continued strong performances. Therefore, we decided to take the option to bring him to VfL at this early stage. Despite his age, Junior Malanda is a player who has the necessary experience. Now, with VfL, he has the chance to develop his great potential."[12]

Personal life[edit]

Malanda was from a Belgian family of Congolese descent, and was survived by a brother named Rudy.[18] He was a close friend of Kevin De Bruyne and Ivan Perišić, teammates at Wolfsburg.[18]


Accident and funeral[edit]

Over 1,000 mourners attended Malanda's funeral at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Brussels

On 10 January 2015, at 15:25 local time (CET), Malanda was travelling in the backseat of a Volkswagen Touareg on the A2 near Porta Westfalica[19] in northern Germany, to catch a flight to a training camp in South Africa.[18] Apparently without outside influence, the car cleared a guardrail on the side of the road and crashed into a tree. Malanda was catapulted from the back seat of the car. The police confirmed Malanda was not wearing his seat-belt at the time of the crash, resulting in him being thrown forward at the collision and being killed instantly.[20][21][22]

According to the police report, the crash was caused due to inappropriate speed for the very rainy weather, and an investigation into possible manslaughter was opened.[23] His agent Peter Smeets stated Malanda's car was caught speeding 21 times in the last 6 months, of which it was faster than 200 km/h in ten instances. He reported that Malanda was almost never driving the car himself.[24]

Malanda's funeral was held on 20 January at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Brussels. It drew over 1,000 mourners, among them Wolfsburg manager Dieter Hecking and Sporting Director Klaus Allofs as well as Marc Wilmots, manager of the Belgium national football team. Songs and dances from his family's ancestral Congo were performed.[25]


Notable footballers including Thibaut Courtois, Ivan Perišić, Nicklas Bendtner, Benedikt Höwedes, Kevin De Bruyne, Mario Götze, and others, paid tribute to him on social media.[20][26] Fellow Belgian Romelu Lukaku dedicated his next goal to him after scoring for Everton in the FA Cup on 13 January.[27] Bundesliga club Bayern Munich observed a minute's silence for Malanda at their training camp in Qatar.[18]

Fans marched outside the Volkswagen Arena in tribute to Malanda. In Wolfsburg's first match since his death, against Bayern Munich on 30 January, a giant banner with Malanda's name and image was displayed by fans at the stadium.[28]

At the end of his final season, Wolfsburg reached the 2015 DFB-Pokal Final against Borussia Dortmund, where they wore shirts with his squad number 19 within a heart.[29] They subsequently retired his number for the upcoming season.[30]


  1. ^ "Junior Malanda". Espnfc.com. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Drancy 0-1 Lille II". Soccerway. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Lille II 1-1 Poissy". Soccerway. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Zulte Waregem neemt Junior Malanda (17) over van Lille" [Zulte Waregem take Junior Malanda (17) from Lille]. Het Laatste Nieuws (in Dutch). 7 July 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Zulte-Waregem 3-1 Gent". Soccerway. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Zulte-Waregem 3-2 Genk". Soccerway. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Zulte-Waregem 2-1 Anderlecht". Soccerway. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Malanda revient à Zulte Waregem" [Malanda returns to Zulte Waregem]. L'Equipe (in French). 1 August 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  9. ^ "PSV finish the job in style in Brussels". UEFA. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Zulte Waregem 1-1 APOEL". UEFA. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  11. ^ Rose, Gary (28 November 2013). "Wigan 1-2 SV Zulte Waregem". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Wolfsburg recall Malanda from loan". ESPN. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  13. ^ "Wolfsburg 1-3 Hannover". Goal.com. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Wolfsburg win in style". Sky Sports. 8 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Wolfsburg keep up Europe hopes with away victory at Werder Bremen". Sky Sports. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  16. ^ "Wolfsburg bounce back". Sky Sports. 12 April 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Wolfsburg's Malanda to miss rest of season". Yahoo News. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d "Junior Malanda funeral draws over 1,000 mourners including Wolfsburg team-mate Kevin de Bruyne". Daily Mail. Press Association. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  19. ^ "Fußballprofi vom VfL Wolfsburg: Junior Malanda stirbt bei Autounfall'". Spiegel Online. 10 January 2015.
  20. ^ a b Lang, Jack (10 January 2015). "Junior Malanda dead at 20: Wolfsburg youngster 'suffers fatal injuries in car accident'". Daily Mirror.
  21. ^ de Menezes, Jack (10 January 2015). "Junior Malanda dies: 20-year-old Wolfsburg midfielder 'killed in car accident' on German motorway". The Independent.
  22. ^ "Polizei bestätigt: Malanda war auf seiner Todesfahrt nicht angeschnallt". FOCUS Online. 12 January 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  23. ^ "Police: Junior Malanda not wearing seat belt during deadly crash". FOX Sports. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  24. ^ Meinhardt, Gunnar (13 January 2015). "Auto von Malanda in sechs Monaten 21 Mal geblitzt" [Malanda's car caught speeding 21 times in six months]. Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  25. ^ "Mourners pay respects at funeral of Wolfsburg midfielder Junior Malanda". The Guardian. Associated Press. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  26. ^ "Junior Malanda dies: 20-year-old Wolfsburg midfielder 'killed in car accident' on German motorway". The Independent. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  27. ^ "Romelu Lukaku dedicates his Everton goal against West Ham to Junior Malanda". Mail Online. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  28. ^ Begley, Emlyn (30 January 2015). "VfL Wolfsburg 4-1 Bayern Mun". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  29. ^ "Wolfsburg make Junior Malanda tribute ahead of Dortmund final". BBC Sport. 28 May 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  30. ^ "Wolfsburg retire le numéro de Malanda pour la saison prochaine" [Wolfsburg retire Malanda's number for next season]. L'Equipe (in French). 2 July 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2015.

External links[edit]