Pre-season preparations start with 19 outfielders and two goalkeepers
Despite the losses of Oliver Steurer and Lars Dietz, there are presently no plans within the Borussia Dortmund U23 set-up to bring in external reinforcements during the current transfer window. "I have no names on my wish list," explained manager Ingo Preuß.
As a result, there were 19 outfield players and two goalkeepers in Jan Siewert's squad that started pre-season preparations ahead of the domestic restart on 10 February, when the BVB U23s play their game in hand in Verl. Others who will join the squad are Dominik Reimann, the first team's third-choice shot-stopper, and full-back Haymenn Bah-Traore, who is expected to recover from a torn lateral collateral ligament by March.
"In sporting terms, the departures are tough to take," admitted Siewert, adding: "But as an U23 team we are first and foremost a development organisation. Ideally for our own purposes, but if the lads are ready to make the leap to the fully professional game, that's a vindication of the work we're doing here and it makes me rather proud as a coach."
Olli Steurer developed splendidly in the six months he spent under Jan Siewert's tutelage. Steurer and Patrick Mainka, who formed perhaps the best central defensive partnership in the division, played the full 90 minutes in every single one of the U23s' league games in the first half of the season. Lars Dietz is also likely to be missed, particularly due to his versatility.
Siewert sees sufficient alternatives in all departments
But Jan Siewert has complete confidence in his charges: "The squad has become smaller, but this will automatically result in more opportunities for others to prove themselves." One such example is Amos Pieper, who is seen as the first-choice replacement for Steurer's centre-back berth.
The coach believes he has enough alternatives in other departments, too. Jonas Arweiler and Balint Bajner, who were both missing in the first half of the campaign, are back, while Siewert is expecting the likes of Beyhan Ametov, Abdelmajid Bouali and Anargyros Kampetsis to step up as well.
There have been a few changes to the pre-season preparations. After the first friendly against Fortuna Köln and the Hamburg trip in the week that follows, Siewert's charges will travel to Lüner SV on 25 January before taking on Rot-Weiss Essen six days later. The clash with Wattenscheid 09, which was initially pencilled in for 31 January, has been cancelled as the two teams are set to square off competitively a few weeks later. Udo Stark