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Samstag, 13.02.2024.Saison 23/24.3.Liga.26. Spieltag.Borussia Dortmund U23 - SC Verl.8 Franz Roggow..Copyright:.Borussia Dortmund GmbH & Co. KGaA.Rheinlanddamm 207-209.44137 Dortmund

The BVB Strategy for Youth Academy

Transition U23

In March 2014, at the request of Bayer Leverkusen, the general meeting of the German Football League (DFL) decided that professional clubs would no longer be required to participate in league play with a U23 team starting from the 2014/15 season. Since then, some clubs have chosen not to register a U23 team - a decision that has not been without consequences: While in the 2013/14 season, there were still 26 U23 teams from professional clubs in the 3rd division or one of the five regional leagues, in the upcoming 2024/25 season, there are only 21 teams.

At 19 years old, it's far from over!

At Borussia Dortmund, we have clearly spoken out against the abolition of the U23 team and in favor of the intensive further development of our junior players! This means: We will continue to invest in personnel, know-how, and infrastructure. The education of our talents is not completed after the U19 level. On the contrary, the crucial steps in transitioning from youth to senior level are yet to come. BVB will continue to support the players on this path; we will nurture them and give them time to develop.

With the elimination of academic pressure after the U19 level, our talents have the time available for further sports training, which we can use together. Our experience shows that focusing on football, with intensive professional guidance, enables significant leaps in performance.

High importance for the transition phase

At Borussia Dortmund, the U23 transitional zone is highly valued as the final stage of development between youth and professional squads. Young talents here learn to cope with the more physical style of play in senior football. Both physical and tactical demands increase.

Advantages of the 3rd Division

Teams in the single-track third division operate at a professional level. A U23 team in this league is challenged to its maximum each week; players are brought closer to the standards of the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga. This includes long away trips. When the U23 team competes in the 3rd division, it provides players from Borussia Dortmund's professional squad an ideal platform to regain match fitness, build rhythm, and prepare for a Bundesliga comeback after long injury breaks.

Not Making It by 19 Means You're Not Good Enough? - Sorry, But We See It Differently!

Critics of the U23 system say: There are no young and old players - only good and less good ones. The good ones make the leap to the professional level even after the U19 - or to put it another way: If you don't make it by 19, you're just not good enough!

Sorry, but at Borussia Dortmund, we see it differently. It's true that the very best may indeed make the direct leap to the Bundesliga at 19. But not everyone is a Marco Reus or a Mario Götze. Besides such exceptional talents, there are many highly skilled players who need a little more time to transition. And they deserve us giving them that time.

  • "Only a few young players make the direct leap from the U19 to professional football," says Lars Ricken, BVB managing director sport and one of those who, in the mid-90s, started in the Bundesliga at the age of 17. "Of course, we wish for the quickest possible development for all our talents. However, we must not give them the impression: 'If you don't make it from the U19 to the professional squad, you won't make it at all.' Those who do should consider the immense pressure they are creating."
  • Lars Ricken knows: "With proper athletic development, young players can make the jump from the 3rd division or regional league to the Bundesliga in a very short time."