First Team

“I’ve developed as a player and person”

Joakim Maehle on carnival, homesickness and the match against Leipzig.

VfL-Spieler Joakim Maehle läuft mit der Hand vor dem Mund, die er zu einer Faust geballt hat, über das Spielfeld.

After moving to VfL Wolfsburg last summer, Joakim Maehle has quickly demonstrated his qualities and become a key figure in the VfL squad. In this interview, the 26-year-old Dane speaks about his start to life in Germany, the upcoming away match against RB Leipzig and his goalscoring feats in national colours.

Joakim Maehle, you’ve been in Germany for over half a year now. How did the settling-in period go?

Joakim Maehle: “Germany and Denmark are very similar in a lot of respects, which is handy for me. The weather is probably the biggest similarity (laughs). The mentality of the people is also comparable. Hard work, order and punctuality are very important both here and in Denmark. In Italy it was a bit different, but I still enjoyed the time there a lot because the weather and the food were noticeably better (laughs).”

You left your home country seven years ago for Genk. Is there anything in particular that you miss about Denmark?

Joakim: “Of course, I miss my family, friends and hometown. I must admit, my first year in Belgium was particularly hard. I was only 18 and felt like I wasn’t yet ready for that step. However, through my time abroad I’ve developed as a player and as a person, and ultimately I’m glad I made these decisions.”

You reached the semi-finals of the last European Championship with the Danish national team. That success also raised your profile. How do you handle that?

Joakim: “There was definitely a noticeable difference after our EURO success. When I’m out and about with friends in Denmark, I’m increasingly recognised on the street. But that doesn’t bother me because I’m a sociable person. Two years ago, I went to the carnival in my home town of Aalborg. It’s a must-do because it’s a huge event.”

You’ve scored 11 goals in 43 games for Denmark – an impressive tally. Can you explain that?

Joakim: “There was a spell with the national team when everything was coming off for me and every ball was ending up in the back of the net (laughs). The coach gave me great confidence and a lot of freedom in my game, which enabled me to show my attacking qualities.”

VfL visit Leipzig on Saturday. What kind of game are you expecting against an RB side in good form?

Joakim: “Leipzig are a team with very high quality. It’s going to be a tough game but I think we have a realistic chance. We’ve already beaten RB twice this season – why shouldn’t we succeed a third time?”