Justin Butler scored an incredible 94th minute winner to give Borussia Dortmund's U23 a 3-2 victory and send fans home happy from the away game at SC Verl. In front of almost 1750 spectators, Julian Hettwer had given BVB the lead on 15 minutes. SC Verl then fought back to take the lead before Patrick Göbel restored parity at 2-2 in the 74th minute.
The scenario: Jan Zimmermann's team went into the game on eight points from the first six games after some challenging early fixtures, having conceded only five goals. Meanwhile, SC Verl, who had started the season with three defeats, had steadied the ship in recent weeks, going three games unbeaten. Going into the game, the hosts had the most goals in the league with 11, but were also the most vulnerable defence, having conceded 13 goals.
Personnel matters: Coach Zimmermann relied largely on the side that secured the home victory against Viktoria Köln, making only two changes as Franz Roggow and Bjarne Pudel came into the starting eleven in place of Abdoulaye Kamara and Hendry Blank. The hosts had to do without the injured Lars Lokotsch in the newly renovated Sportclub-Arena.
The match: Verl started with plenty of energy, but didn't manage to carve out any real chances in the opening stages. The Black and Yellows, on the other hand, repeatedly looked dangerous in transition. After a corner, Falko Michel had the first opportunity for BVB, but his header flew narrowly wide of the goal, to the relief of ex-BVB keeper Luca Unbehaun. On 12 minutes, Paul Besong released his strike partner Julian Hettwer, who kept his composure and slotted home to give BVB the lead. Having gone behind, the hosts redoubled their efforts and had their first chance through Oliver Batista Meier. On 23 minutes, Maximilian Wolfram gave BVB goalkeeper Marcel Lotka had no chance, firing home after good work from Batista Meier down the right. Batista Meier floated a cross into the penalty area, finding Wolfram in space for the equaliser.
The hosts were now brimming with confidence and had more of the game as a result, but they couldn't capitalise on it before the sides went into the dressing rooms at half time.
U23s coach Zimmermann brought on Ayman Azhil for Franz Roggow at the start of the second half, hoping it would help the Black and Yellows keep hold of the ball better. SC Verl had the first chance of the second half, but Lotka was able to parry Yari Otto's shot. BVB were now trying to regain more control over the game. It was a set piece situation that led to their next chance: Michael Eberwein's free kick found Julian Hettwer, who teed up Falko Michel. The BVB striker caught the ball sweetly on the volley, but his shot cannoned off the crossbar. Borussia were now on top, penning SC Verl into their own half.
To the surprise of many, it was Verl who took the lead as BVB were pushing forward. SC captain Mael Corboz found Batista Meier, who had time and space to pick his spot, finding the bottom corner from almost 18 metres out in the 63rd minute.
It took the BVB youngsters a few minutes to get back into the game. A BVB corner was initially dealt with, but the second ball landed at the feet of Patrick Göbel, who curled the ball into the back of the net from a good 25 metres out in the 74th minute.
Coach Zimmermann's team were now back in control of the game. On 84 minutes, SC goalkeeper Unbehaun collided with Samuel Bamba and was forced to leave the field. As Verl had already made five changes, striker Hendrik Mittelstädt had to go in goal for the last ten minutes. In the fourth of eight minutes of injury time, BVB broke the hosts' hearts: substitute Justin Butler tried his luck from a tight angle and sent BVB into raptures, finding the back of the net to give the BVB U23 a last-gasp winner in an entertaining encounter.
Head coach Jan Zimmermann: "First of all, I would like to wish Luca Unbehaun a speedy recovery. We started the game well and knew exactly what to expect. Verl are a team that are hard to defend against when they have the ball. We sat deep early on and tried to hit them on the counter. And that was how we took the lead. After that, Verl got into the game more and deservedly went into the break at 1-1. We went 2-1 down in a period when we were actually controlling the game quite well. It was really good that the boys did not give up despite going behind and then also got a deserved equaliser. When they went a man down, we were very determined and played well, putting them under pressure in their box. It sounds easy against ten men and an outfield player in goal, but we played very cleverly. That's eleven points after seven games and no one can take them away from us, so that gives us more peace of mind."
BVB: Lotka – Bueno, Pudel, Papadopoulos, Göbel – Roggow (Azhil, 46), Pohlmann (Bamba, 69), Eberwein (Pfanne, 81) – Michel (Nischalke, 90), Besong, Hettwer (Butler, 81).
Goals: 0-1 Hettwer (15), 1-1 Wolfram (22), 2-1 Batista-Meier (63), 2-2 Göbel (74), 3-2 Butler (90+4)