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3. Liga

Spoils shared in all-U23 clash as BVB and Freiburg draw 1-1

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The 635 spectators at Stadion Rote Erde saw two highly talented teams play bold, attacking football. BVB had slightly more of the match in the first half and opened the scoring early on through Steffen Tigges. But SC Freiburg had slightly more to offer in the second period and got their reward when they levelled the scores at 1-1 in the 54th minute. With no further goals in the hectic closing stages, the game ended all square.

The opposition: The visitors from Breisgau had taken 26 points from 21 games this term and went into this game in 12th place in the 3. Liga table. Last weekend, Freiburg were only narrowly beaten 3-2 by league leaders Magdeburg.  Mika Baur, who is only 17 years old, particularly stood out on his third-tier debut.

The personnel: BVB coach Enrico Maassen made four changes to the starting XI that won away to Waldhof Mannheim last time out, with Ole Pohlmann, Tobi Raschl, Steffen Tigges and Soumaila Coulibaly replacing Ansgar Knauff, Kolbeinn Finnsson, Bradley Fink and Abdoulaye Kamara.

The match & analysis: BVB sparked straight into life and put the visitors under intense pressure in the opening minutes. Berkan Taz forced an opposing player into misplacing a pass in the fifth minute. Christian Viet subsequently fed Steffen Tigges, who slotted home from 10 metres out to make it 1-0. The Black & Yellows impressed with their quick switch-play and fervent, solid defending.

Striker Steffen Tigges had the chance to double the lead as the 20-minute mark approached, but his shot was blocked at the last second by a Freiburg defender. The men from Breisgau struggled going forward, in part because BVB were so successful at winning the ball back in midfield. Ole Pohlmann had the third chance for the Black & Yellows after around 25 minutes, but Freiburg goalkeeper Atubolu came out on top in the one on one. BVB continued to dictate the pace, but there were no more chances before the whistle sounded and the hosts went in with a narrow lead at the break.

The visitors were the livelier team after the restart and had the chance to restore parity through Ezekwem after around 50 minutes. But Lennard Maloney was in the right place in the six-yard box and turned the ball behind for a corner. In the 53rd minute, referee Patrick Alt awarded SC Freiburg a penalty that was slotted home a minute later by Enzo Leopold to equalise at 1-1.

BVB were lacking penetration going forward during this spell of the game and it was only after conceding that they grew braver in attack. Borussia coach Enrico Maassen took the opportunity to bring on some fresh legs, introducing Haymenn Bah-Traore, Abdoulaye Kamara and Kolbeinn Finnsson to the fray. The Black & Yellows had more of the game once more, but Maassen's charges could not create clear goalscoring opportunities.

It was end-to-end stuff in the closing stages at Stadion Rote Erde. Both teams wanted to kick off the English week with three points, as demonstrated by the attack-minded substitutions in the closing stages as they threw everything forward. But despite the chaos of the final minutes, the final whistle ultimately sounded with the score a deserved 1-1 draw.

BVB U23s: Drljaca – Maloney, Coulibaly (Finnsson, 59), Taz (Njinmah, 68), Tigges, Papadopoulos, Pohlmann (Fink, 76), Viet (Bah-Traore, 59), Pfanne, Pherai, Raschl (Kamara, 59)

Goals: 1-0 Tigges (5), 1-1 Leopold (pen., 54)

Outlook: The U23s are next in action this coming Wednesday when they travel to Ludwigsparkstadion to face FC Saarbrücken (kick-off at 19:00 CET).

Incidents of note: Red card for Lennard Maloney (90)