The Borussia Dortmund U23s are preparing to play their final Monday evening fixture, with the game at Erzgebirge Aue set to kick off at 19:00 CET. From next season onwards, there will be no games at the start of the week due to a new TV contract.

While the Monday evening slot was not very popular with the fans, Dortmund coach Jan Zimmermann views the matter in a pragmatic light: "The fixture has its advantages and disadvantages. But overall, we're unconcerned by it. However, it is unfortunate that you have to play away on a Monday when you're next in action on the Saturday." The U23s will welcome bottom club SpVgg Bayreuth to the Rote Erde next Saturday.

On the other hand – and this is one of the advantages the coach was likely referring to – the Black & Yellows have had eight days to prepare for the game away to Erzgebirge after their 1-1 draw at FC Viktoria Cologne last time out. "A game under the floodlights in Aue, we're looking forward to that," Zimmermann revealed. The U23s are looking for revenge for the reverse fixture, which the Black & Yellows lost 1-0 to the then bottom team at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK on 11 November 2022.

Shortly afterwards, Pavel Dotchev returned to the Saxony side as head coach. The 57-year-old stabilised the team and comfortably steered Aue clear of relegation. In fact, the team are currently two points and one place above Dortmund's U23 in the table, with 43 points. "Aue are a motivated team, even if they don't have much to play for in terms of the standings," said Zimmermann, adding: "They have a lot of experience and individual quality."

Dortmund are without Dennis Lütke-Frie and Timo Bornemann, who both have knee problems. There are also question marks over the involvement of Ole Pohlmann, who fell ill during the week.
Daniel Mertens