An assured performance from the Borussia Dortmund U23s saw them run out 2-0 winners in front of a crowd of 2,000 spectators away to Fortuna Cologne on Sunday afternoon. Magnus Kaastrup scored both goals in quick succession (in the 65th and 68th minutes). After a run of five games without a win, Coach Mike Tullberg's side will no doubt have been delighted to pick up an all-important three points to see them rise to tenth place in the table.
The pre-match scenario: The Black & Yellows made the trip to the Rhineland fresh on the back of a 1-1 draw against the Borussia Mönchengladbach U23s. Their opponents on Sunday, Fortuna, were relegated from the 3. Liga last term and underwent a complete squad overhaul over the summer. It therefore came as no surprise that they took some time to get going this season, but since the end of September, Fotuna have been the team to beat in the division. The side led by Head Coach Thomas Stratos had gone on an eight-match unbeaten run, including big wins against RW Essen and Lotte, and, most recently, away to TuS Haltern.
Personnel: Head Coach Mike Tullberg was unable to call on the services of Kolbeinn Finnsson, who was absent due to commitments with the Iceland U21 squad, Leonardo Balerdi, away on international duty with the Argentina senior team, as well as Jonas Hupe, Marco Rente, Julius Schell, Haymenn Bah-Traoré, Julian Schwermann, Chris Führich and Patrick Osterhage, who were all sidelined by injuries.
The first half: The Black & Yellows, lined up in their standard 4-3-3 formation, signalled their intentions early on, playing some positive attacking football and creating several good goalscoring opportunities. Joseph Boyamba and Steffen Tigges both sent efforts goalwards, but Cologne keeper Kevin Rauhut did well to keep them at bay.
Dortmund's best opportunity of the first half fell to first-team loanee Tobias Raschl, who drove forwards into the Cologne box but failed to pick out a pass to support players Boyamba, Tigges and Kaastrup. The home side, who went into the match on an excellent run of form, were unable to offer much going forward. The Dortmund rearguard, which included ex-Fortuna man Steven Ruprecht, had almost nothing to do in the first 45 minutes.
The second half: The home side came out after the break with renewed attacking intentions and were able to force a first save out of BVB goalkeeper Eric Oelschlägel on the hour mark. Borussia were able to ride out the storm and soon reestablished the upper-hand. Their dominance would reap its rewards in the 65th minute, when Joseph Boyamba put it on a plate for Magnus Kaastrup, who made no mistake in firing home from close range.
BVB had the wind in their sails at this point and it thus came as no surprise when they managed to double their lead shortly afterwards. Steffen Tigges won the ball in midfield, surged forwards and delivered the ball into the box, where Kaastrup was on hand to finish with aplomb and make it 2-0 to BVB.
The three points seemed all but secure, partly due to Eric Oelschlägel's impressive save to deny Fortuna's Prokoph as well as the all-round excellent performance from the team in Black & Yellow. Cologne seemed to have no answers. In the end, it was a richly deserved victory for Borussia, who will look ahead towards the coming matchdays full of confidence.
Here's what BVB Head Coach Mike Tullberg had to say: ''We managed to get the first goal just when Fortuna were having their best spell of the game. Duman coming off the bench really helped us raise our game in the middle of the park. We're a good team when we have the ball, and we were able to control it in the second half. I actually thought we could have scored one or two more goals but I'm delighted that we managed to keep a clean sheet.''
What's next: The U23s are next in action on Friday, when they travel to play SC Verl in a rescheduled fixture. Kick-off in the Sportclub Arena is scheduled for 19.00 CET. The BVB first team are also in action on Friday evening, with their home game against SC Paderborn kicking off at 20.30 CET.
BVB U23: Oelschlägel – Morey, Ruprecht, Hippe, Bünning – Raschl (90. Relucio), Hober, Tunga (56. Duman) – Boyamba (87. Rizzo), Tigges, Kaastrup (78. Wanner)
Goals: 0-1 Kaastrup (65.), 0-2 Kaastrup (68.)