The Borussia Dortmund U23s picked up another three points in the Regionalliga after an intense game away to Fortuna Düsseldorf. In the end, a Tobi Raschl penalty was all that separated the two sides. The gap between BVB and RW Essen has widened to nine points after the second-placed club dropped points in Oberhausen.
The scenario: After their impressive win away to Bonner SC in midweek, the Black & Yellows came into the game placed first in the Regionalliga West, with a seven-point advantage over second-placed RW Essen. The Fortuna Düsseldorf U23s were placed fifth in the standings.
Personnel matters: Taylan Duman picked up a thigh injury in Bonn on Wednesday and had to sit this one out. He was joined on the sidelines by the injured Moritz Broschinski and Patrick Osterhage. Haymenn Bah-Traore and Aday Ercan moved into the starting line-up in place of Taylan Duman and Alaa Bakir. Albin Thaqi made the step up from the U19s to join the matchday squad.
The match & analysis: Both teams were keen to get stuck into the tackles early on. The opening minutes saw little in the way of goalmouth action. The first real sight of goal came after Haymenn Bah-Traore beat his man on the right wing and played a cross in from the edge of the box. His delivery curled wickedly towards goal and ended up rattling the upright before going out for a goal-kick. Down the other end, Düsseldorf hit the post from a free-kick in the 10th minute. The game was finely-balanced, with BVB showing slightly more attacking intent than their hosts. The Black & Yellows looked to press high up the park and force Fortuna into making mistakes. This is exactly what happened in the 19th minute, when a Düsseldorf defender put the ball out of play after being chased down by BVB’s intense press. From the resultant throw-in, Richmond Tachie received the ball in the box and was duly hacked to the ground – penalty for Borussia. Tobi Raschl stepped up to convert and score his fifth goal of the season.
BVB continued to take the game to the opposition after opening the scoring. Düsseldorf struggled to keep hold of the ball, helped in no way by the strong wind blowing around the Paul Janes stadium. All that was lacking for the Black & Yellows was precision in the final third. As it was, the two sides went in at half-time with the score reading 1-0 in favour of the visitors. Both teams emerged from the dressing room unchanged for the second half. The first chance after the break fell to BVB, but Steffen Tigges’s shot was directed straight into the arms of Fortuna goalkeeper Anton Mitryushkin. Düsseldorf’s first chance of the second half came out of nowhere. An attempted clearance from BVB’s Franz Pfanne ended up flying towards Luca Unbehaun’s goal, but the BVB keeper was able to prevent the ball from crossing the line. Düsseldorf came to life offensively as they pushed for an equaliser and had the next sight of goal through a Lex Lobinger effort around the hour mark.
The Black & Yellow defence rode out this period of pressure through presence of mind and strong tackling. Enrico Maaßen opted for his first change in the 71st minute. Dominik Wanner, making his return from injury, came on to replace Haymenn Bah-Traore. As the clock ticked away, the game developed into a midfield battle. Maaßen made another substitution ten minutes before time: Cebrail Makreckis replaced Richmond Tachie. Arguably the biggest chance of the second half fell to Steffen Tigges in the 84th minute. However, the BVB striker was denied three times in quick succession by Mitryushkin. Alaa Bakir entered the fray for the last five minutes, coming on for Ansgar Knauff. Albin Thaqi came on in the 89th minute to make his debut Regionalliga appearance. The U19 player helped BVB get the result over the line in place of goalscorer Tobi Raschl.
Franz Pfanne: ”That was our fifth game in 14 days. Today was all about fighting hard to get the win, not about playing nice football. We managed to keep a clean sheet and win ugly. That was great, we’re unbelievably proud.”
Tobi Raschl: ”We came here to pick up three points. That’s what we managed to do in the 93 minute. That’s all that matters. We gave it our all today and we’re very happy about the three points.”
Outlook: The Black & Yellows will host Fortuna Cologne on Easter Sunday. Kick-off is scheduled for 14:00 CET.
Team & goals
BVB U23: Unbehaun, Bah-Traore (71, Wanner), Maloney, Ercan, Tachie (81, Makreckis), Weigelt, Tigges, Pfanne, Dams, Knauff (85, Bakir), Raschl (89, Thaqi)
Goals: 0-1 Raschl (20, penalty)