The Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen U17s squared off in optimal weather at the Ulrich-Haberland-Stadion on Wednesday evening. With BVB chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke watching on, the first leg of the Bundesliga West semi-final ended 1-1 after 80 minutes.
The first opportunity for BVB came with just a few seconds on the clock, Alaa Bakir going clean through on goal before ultimately dragging his effort narrowly wide of the upright. Then, with eight minutes gone, Youssoufa Moukoko impressively outmanoeuvred two Leverkusen players and slotted home the opener with a low shot in a central position.
The Black & Yellows continued to assert their dominance in the ensuing period, creating several chances to extend their lead. On 21 minutes it was again Moukoko who made an impressive driving run into the opposition penalty area, where he was denied by the Bayer shot-stopper. The first dangerous moment for Leverkusen came with almost half an hour on the clock when a long free-kick landed at the feet of the unmarked Seymour Fünger, who missed the target from close range − and with it the chance to level at 1-1.
Dortmund immediately hit back and would have doubled their lead if Moukoko had converted a tap-in from a narrow angle rather than hitting the post. Instead, they were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal when Leverkusen found the net with their second opportunity. There was a lapse in the Black & Yellow defence inside the penalty area following a corner and Bayer's Kevin Bukusu took advantage of the carelessness to make it 1-1.
Shortly after the restart, BVB player Ware Pakia replaced the injured Rilind Hetemi on the pitch and came close to doubling the Dortmund advantage from a backflick with his first touch. The match continued at full throttle and Moukoko was again in the thick of the action, sidefooting a shot from the edge of the box that sailed narrowly wide (45).
The following minutes were interspersed by injuries, meaning that the overall entertainment value and the number of attacks diminished. Neither side could transform the few chances they had into a decisive breakthrough. But in the 75th minute, Bayer were gifted with a gilt-edged chance to take the lead. A B04 player hit a shot from around 20 metres only for BVB custodian Luca Unbehaun to make a strong save. It was swiftly followed by another chance that flew narrowly over the Dortmund goal. There were to be few noteworthy incidents in the closing stages and it ended 1-1, with the return leg to take place in Brackel at 16:30 CET on Sunday. Selina Göckler