As part of the winter training camp currently being held in Portugal ahead of the second half of the Regionalliga West campaign, the U23s took on the Vitoria Setubal U23s (11:00 CET) and Uniao Serpense (16:30 CET) in a friendly double-header on Wednesday.
End-to-end affair against Setubal
Coach Mike Tullberg was without the duo of Julian Schwermann and Reda Khadra, who missed out through illness and injury respectively. His team for the first friendly of the day was as follows: Unbehaun, Bünning, Rupprecht, Rente, Finnsson, Tunga, Führich, Hober, Tigges, Boyamba, Führich.
In the opening stages, BVB looked defensively strong and predominantly built from the back – without creating much in terms of goalscoring opportunities. But equally their hosts, who hail from near Lisbon, did not threaten shot-stopper Luca Unbehaun's goal either. And so when Chris Führich broke the deadlock by rounding off a counter-attack on the half-hour mark, it initially looked as though the second friendly of the year would end in victory.
It was a different story altogether once the second half kicked off, however. BVB were more attack-minded and spurned a clear-cut chance to make it 2-0. But soon afterwards the Portuguese took advantage of some sloppy BVB defending and equalised. Kaastrup then re-established the Dortmund lead, only for the Portuguese to level from a direct free-kick a short while later. Just a few minutes later, the young Iberians took the lead for the first time. But captain Hober rallied his team-mates ("I don't want to lose here!") and a deserved equaliser soon followed.
Both teams played some good football and took full advantage of their opposition's mistakes. BVB coach Mike Tullberg had the following to say of the first match. "We were up against a good-quality opponent. They had one or two who could really play. We took the lead and were on the verge of making it 2-0. But then we conceded from a long ball. The second half was good from an attacking point of view but the three goals we conceded are obviously frustrating. We didn't look good [in terms of how we played] off the ball."
Another match, another draw
The match the spectators witnessed later that day was very different. The BVB line-up at the stadium in Beja consisted of the following XI: Hawryluk, Schell, Ferjani, Hippe, Relutio, Baxmann, Wanner, Pherai, Bakir, Et, Rizzo.
Coach Tullberg fielded three current U19 players against Serpense – some of whom were playing their first match at senior level in the pouring rain – and they repaid the faith that had been shown in them with a good display against an extremely tough opponent. The Black & Yellows produced a committed performance in the first half and were the better side. They posed a danger on several occasions and would have likely taken a lead in at the break had they not had two penalty appeals turned down. The opposition only had one chance on the counter before the break, but it was well thwarted by Dominik Wanner.
BVB made an equally attack-minded start to the second period and took a deserved 1-0 lead through Alaa Bakir in the 50th minute. The U19 player took advantage of a mistake in the opposition defence and slotted home from close range. The lead did not last for long, however, with Serpense restoring parity at 1-1 a few minutes later. There were no further goals in a chaotic match broken up by lots of fouls – some minor and some extremely tough.
Coach Tullberg was frustrated after the final whistle. "It was to and fro in the second match. We controlled the game and deservedly went 1-0 ahead in the second half. But again, they levelled at 1-1 out of the blue and suddenly the match became chaotic. I'm happy that nobody picked up an injury; that was ultimately the most important thing."