The Borussia Dortmund U23s took a giant leap towards promotion to the third division on Sunday. They ran out 3-1 winners away to SV Straelen thanks to an outstanding second-half display and goals from Tobi Raschl, Ansgar Knauff and Alaa Bakir. That victory – combined with a 2-1 defeat for Essen in Cologne – sent BVB to the top of the table!
The scenario: Their corona-enforced break to the season meant that BVB went into their clash with Straelen in second place – two points behind RW Essen but with two games in hand. The home side went into the match in 14th place in the table but were no longer in danger of relegation.
Personnel matters: BVB coach Enrico Maaßen was without the injured quartet of Taylan Duman, Maximilian Hippe, Moritz Broschinski and Lennard Maloney.
The match & analysis: BVB struggled in the opening minutes of the match. The Black & Yellows had little possession and took time to settle into their rhythm. The home side had the better foothold in the game, dominated possession and opened the scoring on the 13-minute minute. It took around 20 minutes for BVB to gain the upper hand in the game. Some lovely link-up play involving Steffen Tigges created an opening for defensive midfielder Franz Pfanne, who was fouled by a Straelen defender on the byline – but claims for a penalty kick were waved away.
The turning point in the match eventually came midway through the first half. The Black & Yellows were having shots by the minute but lacked precision. Straelen defended compactly, looked solid at the back and gave BVB hardly any room to produce their link-up play. But shortly before the half-time whistle, Steffen Tigges managed to break through the opposition defence and was brought down inside the penalty area. This time the spot-kick was awarded, with Tobi Raschl stepping up to slot home a deserved leveller on the stroke of half-time.
BVB came out all guns blazing in the second period, with Franz Pfanne and Steffen Tigges denied by the home goalie in the early stages. The Black & Yellows pushed for the goal that would put them in the lead, while Straelen could barely get out of their own half. Ansgar Knauff played himself into space on the left side of the box with a one-two and put the visitors 2-1 ahead with around 20 minutes remaining, the pacy winger chipping the ball over Udegbe in the Straelen goal to give his side a deserved lead. The victory was then sealed when BVB added their third goal of the game with five minutes to go, Alaa Bakir firing home to make it 3-1 and spark scenes of celebration.
With RW Essen losing their match away to the 1. FC Cologne second team, BVB now top the table again with two matches in hand. They are one point above Essen at the summit. Essen can take a maximum of six points from their two remaining matches, while BVB still have 12 points up for grabs.
The match reactions:
Enrico Maaßen: "We're delighted with our victory, that was the goal today. The way we seized the initiative was very good. We showed the extraordinary character that this team possesses. We created good goalscoring opportunities time and time again. That was a very important victory for us. But we're not yet at the finish line and we need to stay focused."
Steffen Tigges: "Straelen made it really difficult for us today. We have shown this season that we believe in ourselves. We were unlucky in several situations in the first period, but then we turned the game around and sealed the win in the second half thanks to our quality."
Franz Pfanne: "We showed from the beginning that we had an objective. That objective is promotion. We hadn't played a game for over three weeks. It was a difficult situation. After conceding, we got a better foothold in the game and didn't give up. This match was one-way traffic and in the end we deserved to win."
Outlook: Next up on the agenda is the rescheduled fixture in Rödinghausen on Wednesday. Kick off in East-Westphalia is at 18:30 CET.
Team & goals
BVB U23s: Unbehaun – Hober (Osterhage, 68), Tachie (Bakir, 68), Weigelt, Tigges, Finnsson, Pfanne, Dams, Knauff, Raschl (Ercan, 85), Wanner (Bah-Traore, 68)
Goals: 1-0 Mizuta (13), 1-1 Raschl (pen., 45), 2-1 Knauff (71), 3-1 Bakir (86)