Despite creating many chances, the Borussia Dortmund U23s drew a blank and narrowly lost their basement battle with Erzgebirge Aue by a 1-0 scoreline.
Erzgebirge Aue, who were relegated from the second tier last term, travelled to Dortmund in last place. They had picked up only two points in their previous five matches and had only 11 points in total after 16 rounds of matches. The BVB U23s were in a better position. They might have lost their previous two games, but Borussia still went into this basement battle with 18 points on the board. They were up against former Dortmund player Paul-Philipp Besong, who played a major role in securing the A-Junior championship in 2019 and spent a total of 10 years in the BVB youth setup (2009-2019).
Coach Christian Preusser made only one change to the team that lost 2-0 to Viktoria Cologne. Falko Michel missed out through suspension, with Göktan Gürpüz replacing him in the starting XI. Soumaila Coulibaly, Antonios Papadopoulos and Marco Pasalic were all with the senior squad in Mönchengladbach and missed out.
The match & analysis:
Both teams made a committed start, and the match was initially an even affair. Justin Njinmah had a headed attempt that was too central (6) and fired wide following a lovely through-ball from Gürpüz (19). The standout player in the opposition ranks was Besong, who fired wide of (18) and over the target (38). BVB keeper Marcel Lotka did not have to intervene but did have to be on alert as the visitors increasingly seized control of the game after approximately 25 minutes. Aue’s Dimitrij Nazarov frequently appeared in the half-spaces and was the driving force behind the bottom club’s play with his skill.
Nazarov also had a big hand in Erzgebirge Aue taking a 1-0 lead. After a mistake from Dortmund’s Can Özkan, Nazarov found himself on the ball and cleverly switched the play to Ivan Knezevic, who teed up Marco Schikora equally intelligently – and his shot only 20 seconds after the restart proved unstoppable for Lotka in the BVB goal (46). A shock that took Borussia time to recover from. The game swung back and forth between the penalty areas before Njinmah again went close: the forward took advantage of an error by Korbinian Burger and rounded Philipp Klewin but could not find the net from a narrow angle and instead struck the bar (63).
BVB remained goalless heading into the closing stages. They pressed and got into dangerous areas increasingly often, but Gürpüz put the ball wide of (80) and over the Aue goal (84). Defender Niklas Dams was brought down in the box by Nazarov following a set-piece. The U23s protested vociferously, but referee Assad Nouhoum allowed play to continue (83). And in the final minutes of the match, Gürpüz (90+1), Pfanne (90+3) and Dams (90+5) were all denied by the outstanding reactions of goalkeeper Klewin as the away team held on to secure the victory – although Borussia would have deserved to come away with a point.
U23 coach Christian Preusser:
“We had an unbelievable number of chances and lost a match that we absolutely shouldn’t have lost. We could’ve scored one or two goals – and I would’ve liked to get a penalty towards the end. In the New Year, we want to convert our chances, create even more and take advantage of set-pieces situations. We therefore have a lot to do still. But having these chances to score is a foundation that we can build on.”
The 3. Liga is also set to break for the winter, with the Dortmund U23s not in third-tier action again until January. Coach Preusser’s team will be away to SpVgg Bayreuth on 15 January 2023 (14:00 CET).
BVB U23s: Lotka – Pfanne, Dams, Finnsson (Pudel, 63) – Elongo-Yombo (Semic, 63), Özkan (Hober, 74), Pohlmann, Bueno – Gürpüz – Broschinski (Bornemann, 82), Njinmah (Tattermusch, 82)
Goals: 0-1 Schikora (46)