Goal at the death condemns U23s to defeat against Oldenburg
Borussia Dortmund's U23s have returned from the capital of Lower Saxony without a point. The away game against VfB Oldenburg in Hanover proved to be a repeat of the reverse fixture – a 2-1 (1-1) defeat due to a goal at the death.
The scenario: The Borussia Dortmund U23s had a score to settle with VfB Oldenburg: the Black & Yellows had lost the reverse fixture against the promoted outfit in mid-September 2-1 due to a goal in stoppage time. But Oldenburg had picked up only 10 more points in their 18 games since then, dropping into bottom place in the table. VfB recently sacked Dario Fossi, the coach that had masterminded their promotion. His successor Fuat Kilic was making his dugout debut against BVB. Dortmund's U23s went into the game on 24 points, three points and three places above the Lower Saxons.
Personnel matters: Dortmund coach Jan Zimmermann made the two expected changes to the starting XI that had suffered a 3-1 home defeat to Dresden three days earlier, with Thomas Meunier returning to the Bundesliga squad and Abdoulaye Kamara playing for the U19s in the Youth League quarter-final against Hajduk Split. They were replaced in the starting line-up by Falko Michel and Franz Pfanne.
The match & analysis: Dortmund boss Jan Zimmermann had been expecting a waiting game. But in reality, BVB made a false start – like they had done in Dresden. Oldenburg opened the scoring early on when Manfred Starke set up Linus Schäfer, who sprinted into the penalty area, shook off Ole Pohlmann and fired the ball into the roof of the net from the edge of the six-yard box to make it 1-0 (8).
But the Black & Yellows quickly got themselves back on track: Can Özkan lofted a high cross from the right flank into the box towards Falko Michel, who rose the highest around eight metres from the Oldenburg goal and headed into the far corner for 1-1 (17).
Max Wegner had the opportunity to put VfB back in front, but his shot from around 11 metres out did not pose any problems for BVB goalie Marcel Lotka (23). Lotka had to go to much greater lengths a short while later to keep out two attempts from Manfred Starke and ultimately turn the ball behind for a corner-kick (28).
The game subsequently tailed off – and only came back to life shortly before half-time when Niklas Dams crossed into the penalty area from midfield. The ball slid through to Falko Michel, who was brought down by Oldenburg shot-stopper Sebastian Mielitz (42). However, Antonios Papadopoulos' low spot-kick was kept out by the VfB goalkeeper (43).
Dortmund registered two attempts shortly after half-time but neither did enough to find the net: an Eberwein header following an Özkan cross from the right flank flew over the VfB goal in the 51st minute, before Papadopoulos pulled the trigger from over 20 metres out but did not pose a problem for Mielitz between the sticks (53).
Both teams looked to turn the game in their favour. VfB thought they had taken the lead, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside (66). Substitute Bjarne Pudel forced Oldenburg's goalkeeper into a spectacular save with the best piece of attacking play in the second half, Mielitz turning the shot from the edge of the box around the post with his fingertips (80).
Ultimately, it ended the same way as the reverse fixture with Oldenburg scoring the winner right at the end. Rafaek Brand squared the ball from a central position outside the BVB box into the path of onrushing VfB substitute Ayodele Adetula, whose shot took an unstoppable deflection off Franz Pfanne and looped over Lotka into the BVB net (88).
Trainer Jan Zimmermann: "It wasn't a really good game, but a disjointed one. There were spells in which we could've won the match, which is why we cannot lose it at the end. We made Oldenburg strong through our own mistakes. We need to be more consistent in the decisive moments. You cannot get hit on a counter-attack like that right before the end. We now need to show a quick reaction and will have the chance for redemption on Sunday. We mustn't now lose our nerve. We'll be back in business with a win, you can see that with Oldenburg today."
Outlook: The U23s are next in action at home to FSV Zwickau this coming Sunday. The match will be played at the Niederrhein-Stadion in Oberhausen. Kick-off is at 14:00 CET.
U23s: Lotka – Özkan, Dams, Coulibaly (Pudel, 61), Rothe (Tattermusch, 61) – Pfanne (Akono, 89), Papadopoulos (Otuali Omohe, 89) – Njinmah, Pohlmann, Michel (Pasalic, 76) – Eberwein
Goals: 1-0 Schäfer (8), 1-1 Michel (17), 2-1 Adetula (88)