It's derby weekend for Borussia Dortmund's juniors: the U19s play host to FC Schalke 04 at the Brackel Youth Training Centre on Saturday (11:00 CET), while the U17s – who have eight wins from their first eight games of the season – face their Ruhr rivals in Gelsenkirchen-Ückendorf, in what will be a real test of their credentials for both teams.
The reigning German A Junior champions currently occupy fourth place in the Bundesliga West, behind the top three of VfL Bochum (17 points), Bayer Leverkusen (16) and FC Schalke 04 (also 16). On Saturday they will be without goalkeeper Luca Unbehaun, who has a knee injury, as well as outfield players Patrick Osterhage (ankle problem), Florian Rausch (broken hand) and Enrique Pena Zauner (stress fracture in metatarsal). Captain Dominik Wanner could make a return to the squad, however. Coach Benjamin Hoffmann is well aware of the importance of the derby, saying: "Both teams are currently playing the role of the hunter and urgently need points."
Meanwhile, it will be a top-of-the-table clash for the U17s in Ückendorf. League leaders BVB are the highest-scoring team in the league (31), while second-placed Schalke have conceded the fewest goals (one). Borussia have amassed 24 points, two more than Schalke (22). Coach Sebastian Geppert is hoping to pick up his first victory against the Royal Blues.
Two derbies before the first team take on RB Leipzig in the evening: there could hardly be a more exciting start to a BVB Saturday... (wiwi)