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Pre-match report

Getting to the final remains the goal for U19s

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Borussia Dortmund's U19s are heading into the second leg of their German Championship semi-final tie against Hertha BSC full of optimism. "Despite the 2-2 draw in the first leg, not much has changed in terms of our starting position. Our goal remains to reach the final," said coach Mike Tullberg ahead of the second leg at the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Stadium on Monday. The game kicks off at 11:00 CEST and will be broadcast live on SKY.

Tullberg has positive memories of Berlin. Two years ago, the BVB coach celebrated his first U19 German Championship win with a 2-1 victory over Hertha BSC in the final, and last season his side thrashed the hosts 4-0 in the semi-final first leg. However, the current squads are different in terms of personnel, and Hertha made a strong impression last Thursday. Tullberg confirms: "With this line-up, it's the strongest opponent we've faced in the national competition in recent years."

He and his coaching team analysed the first leg. He takes confidence from the strong phases in the first half in particular: "We failed to open up a clear lead there. We will also get our opportunities in Berlin. But we need to then use them decisively." Determination and efficiency in particular have characterised BVB in the Bundesliga and could prove decisive in the post-season.

Dortmund seemed surprised by the athleticism and intensity of their opponents in the first leg. "Hertha played grown-up football, they are physically more advanced, which caused us problems in one-on-one duels," analysed Tullberg. While Berlin fielded five players in Pascal Klemens, Ibrahim Maza, Bence Dardai, Peter Matiebel and Oliver Rölke who are permanent members of their Bundesliga 2 or Regionalliga squads, BVB were significantly younger on average with three U17 talents and six youngsters. Tullberg was keen to underline the performance of his centre-backs: "Our youngsters Elias Benkara and Tyler Meister did a good job, but Hertha have a clear advantage over our talented team in terms of robustness and physicality."

Question marks over Posada's involvement

He will make tactical adjustments and give his players a more refined plan. Unlike in league matches, in which Borussia usually dominate deep-lying opponents, Hertha BSC took control of the game and forced BVB onto the back foot. "The only time we've seen us have significantly less possession than our opponents was in the Youth League against AC Milan. We find that difficult. We have to do better in Berlin, play with more control and defend Hertha's longer spells of possession more intelligently," said Tullberg. Goalkeeper Lisewski is convinced that the team has learnt from the first leg: "We always come back quickly. I still think we have a good chance of winning the second leg."

There will be hardly any changes to the squad. There is a question mark over the participation of the injured defender Leonardo Posadas. U17 World Cup winners Almugera Kabar and Paris Brunner, who were substituted for preventative reasons, will return to the starting line-up. Filippo Mane could also be an option. "If we put in a top performance, we're capable of winning against an outstanding team like Hertha BSC," explained Tullberg.