Borussia Dortmund are currently the top dogs in German youth football. In each of the five seasons since 2014, they have won either the A or B Youth Championship title. And that run continued today as the U17s claimed their third national title in the space of five years − after 2014 and 2015 − by winning 3-2 at FC Bayern Munich. They reached the 2016 final in that category too, as well as winning the U19 title in 2016 and 2017.
"Of all the titles, this was the most emotional," said Youth Coordinator Lars Ricken after an entertaining final in Munich, before continuing: "There weren't many in the stands who believed [we could do it] because Bayern were so strong." To make matters more difficult, BVB were without several key performers including national goalkeeper Luca Unbehaun.
For coach Sebastian Geppert, whether it was "lucky or deserved" mattered little. His team prevailed in a spectacular final, sealing a 3-2 victory five minutes from time thanks to Youssoufa Moukoko's winner. Immanuel Pherai, who scored both of the first two goals before setting up the third, described the triumph as "simply brilliant" before adding: "My heart is so happy."
"We absolutely wanted to win this match. It was completely even," said a "totally ecstatic" Geppert upon winning the title. Captain Alaa Bakir said after the presentation ceremony: "It's been indescribable."
Five of the last 10 titles at A and B Youth level since 2014 have gone to Dortmund, with the other five going to Leverkusen, Munich, Hoffenheim, Schalke and Berlin. The future looks bright, too: the younger year groups − U16, U15 and U14 − all finished in No. 1 spot in western football last season.