Lightning start not enough as U23s lose 2-1 to Osnabrück
The Borussia Dortmund U23s lost 2-1 to VfL Osnabrück. Göktan Gürpüz spectacularly fired BVB into the lead after one and a half minutes, only for the visitors to turn the game around before the first half was up.
The scenario: The first match of the year in Bayreuth ended in a 3-1 defeat. BVB were deservedly in front at the interval but then produced an error-strewn performance after the restart. Meanwhile, coach Tobias Schweinsteiger's Osnabrück side resumed their league campaign with a 3-1 victory against Viktoria Cologne and went into their meeting with 16th-placed Borussia in 10th position in the table.
Personnel matters: Coach Christian Preusser made five changes to the team that started away to SpVgg Bayreuth. Tom Rothe made his first appearance for the U23s, while Prince Aning, Can Özkan, Göktan Gürpüz and Cyrill Akono were also drafted into the starting XI in place of Kolbeinn Finnsson, Guille Bueno, Marco Pasalic, Falko Michel and VfL Bochum-bound Moritz Broschinski. Captain Franz Pfanne and midfielder Falko Michel missed out through injury.
The match & analysis: Both teams came racing out of the blocks. The first major opportunity fell to Osnabrück's Noel Niemann after only 25 seconds, but his effort landed on the crossbar. At the other end, playmaker Gürpüz fared marginally better with Borussia's first attempt. The 20-year-old was afforded too much space in the middle and curled a spectacular effort into the back of the net – his first goal for BVB. Only one and a half minutes had been played by this point.
It continued in similarly exciting fashion: Aning went for the VfL goal from a corner and goalkeeper Philipp Kühn just about managed to avert the danger (19), before then coming out on top in a one-on-one to deny Niklas Dams from close range (20). In doing so, the shot-stopper paved the way for his team to really settle into the game and turn the match on its head before the break against a Dortmund team that had been performing well.
After Borussia had lost possession, VfL forward Erik Engelhardt levelled at 1-1 (21). Osnabrück's second goal came when Ba-Muaka Simakala fired home from the spot (34). But Borussia were not without chances during this period: both Özkan (23) and Justin Njinmah (38) lacked accuracy with their shots, however, and they went in behind at half-time.
Osnabrück were significantly better than Dortmund after the restart: BVB shot-stopper Marcel Lotka, who had successfully intervened to deny Niemann (30) and Timo Beermann (45) in the opening half, thwarted an effort from Henry Rorig (46) – and then watched on as his team-mates initially failed to really make any in-roads into the opposition's third, despite expending every effort.
And so it was Osnabrück who also had the second chance of the second half, though former Bundesliga player Robert Tesche could not get the better of Lotka (76). Preusser reacted and brought on Abdoulaye Kamara for the first time since his injury lay-off, before introducing the attacking trio of Marco Pasalic, Michael Eberwein and Rodney Elongo-Yombo. And BVB's late charge was almost rewarded. But Pasalic's free-kick was too central (90+2) and then Dams' header was cleared off the line (90+6).
Christian Preusser: "We're currently missing a few details to pick up points. It would've done us good if we'd managed to make it 2-2. We started the match well and then lost our way a little. Now we need to keep cool and continue working hard. Then we'll get our reward."
BVB U23s: Lotka – Özkan (Elongo-Yombo, 89), Collins, Dams, Rothe – Papadopoulos (Suver, 89), Pohlmann – Njinmah, Gürpüz (Kamara, 66), Aning (Pasalic, 66) – Akono (Eberwein, 79)
Goals: 1-0 Gürpüz (2), 1-1 Engelhardt (21), 1-2 Simakala (pen., 34)
Outlook: The U23s will take on Wehen Wiesbaden at Signal Iduna Park this Sunday (14:00 CET).