The Borussia Dortmund U23s extended their unbeaten start to the season to 12 games by beating Schalke 04 5-1 in the Ruhr derby. Ansgar Knauff, Niklas Dams, Richmond Tachie, Philipp Harlaß and Kolbeinn Finnsson got the goals for Enrico Maaßen's side.
The scenario: The unbeaten BVB reserves had made an outstanding start to the season, winning nine and drawing two of their first 11 games to put them in second prior to kick-off. S04, meanwhile, went into this fixture in seventh place.
Personnel matters: Enrico Maaßen made two changes to the team that faced Lippstadt, with Marco Hober and Dominik Wanner replaced by Tobi Raschl and Ansgar Knauff.
The match & analysis: The game got off to an intense start with tackles flying in on both sides. The Black & Yellows had the first goalscoring opportunity around the nine-minute mark but Alaa Bakir's shot lacked accuracy and did not pose a serious threat to the Schalke shot-stopper, who was repeatedly called into action in the period that followed as the Black & Yellows laid siege to his goal. Dortmund's attacking players created several chances – including good opportunities for Steffen Tigges, Richmond Tachier and Ansfar Knauff – but none of them managed to find the back of the net.
Instead, it was the home side that opened the scoring with their first opportunity, Jan Luca Schuler putting the ball past BVB keeper Stefan Drljaca from a narrow angle following a quickly taken free-kick. The goal came against the run of play but BVB did not let the setback knock them off their stride, kept creating chances and finally restored parity at 1-1 with their seventh opportunity. The move started with Franz Pfanne and Lennard Maloney before Steffen Tigges picked out Ansgar Knauff, who slotted the ball home from close range. The Black & Yellows took a 2-1 lead only a few moments later and Tigges once again claimed the assist, teeing up centre-back Niklas Dams following a free-kick. The 30-year-old's header put BVB ahead for the first time and gave them a slender lead heading into the break.
BVB continued their attacking momentum in the second period. Barely 120 seconds had been played when Richmond Tachie increased the lead to 3-1. Having been given a helping hand by Schalke's Brooklyn Ezeh, the Dortmund striker fired a well-placed effort into the bottom left corner from 16 metres out. The Black & Yellows were the team in the ascendancy, repeatedly looking for counter-attacks and set-pieces in dangerous areas. One such counter was converted in the 74th minute to make the score 4-1. Ansgar Knauff played in Philipp Harlaß, who took advantage of a mistake from the Schalke goalkeeper and ran through to slot into an empty net.
The scoring in what ultimately proved to be a one-sided affair was rounded off by Kolbeinn Finnsson in the 82nd minute. The Iceland youth international drifted inwards from the right flank and fired an unstoppable shot into the bottom right of the Schalke goal.
The match reactions:
Ansgar Knauff: "A derby win is always good. I've now played with the team on one or two occasions and I'm delighted that I was able to contribute to our victory with a goal and an assist today. That's always a really good feeling for me. We weren't properly in the game in the opening 20 minutes but we stuck at it and laid the foundations for the victory with the two goals in the first half."
Alaa Bakir: "I've been at BVB since the U13s. The derby is always the most important game of the season. It's a special match and I'm happy that we were able to win it today. I told the lads that it would be a very important match and that we would need to give it everything we had. It's always nice to beat the Blues."
Outlook: The U23s are next in action when they welcome SV Rödinghausen to Hohenbuschei on Wednesday (17:30 CET).
Team & goals
BVB U23s: Drljaca, Maloney, Hippe, Raschl (Hober, 46), Bakir (Harlaß, 71), Duman, Tachie (Finnsson, 81), Tigges, Pfanne, Dams, Knauff (Wanner, 76)
Goals: 1-0 Schuler (22), 1-1 Knauff (38), 1-2 Dams (41), 1-3 Tachie (47), 1-4 Harlaß (74), 1-5 Finnsson (82)