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Pre-match report

''The focus is on three points,'' as U23s face Duisburg

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The Borussia Dortmund U23s will host MSV Duisburg in a Ruhr derby at the Rote Erde Stadion on Wednesday evening (19:00 CET). 

From a Dortmund perspective, the Zebras have been welcome visitors at the Rote Erde since BVB's return to the 3. Liga in 2021. Both matches at the Strobelallee have resulted in wins for the Black & Yellows (4-1, 2-0). Coach Jan Zimmermann's side will now hope to extend this winning streak to three games. 

Current form suggests BVB are the favourites, as the U23s have notched up back-to-back wins against Viktoria Köln (2-1) and SC Verl (3-2) to climb up to fifth in the table. 

Far away, therefore, from the relegation zone, the part of the table where visitors MSV currently find themselves. The Duisburg club, with three points from seven games, are at the bottom of the 3. Liga table. Bringing in Engin Vural as head coach to replace Torsten Ziegner didn't bear any initial fruits last weekend, as the Zebras went down 2-0 away to Viktoria Köln. 

The game on Wednesday night will be of special significance for two Dortmund players: starting goalkeeper Marcel Lotka was born in Duisburg and played for the club for several years. "My best friends come from Duisburg, my parents live there,'' said the goalkeeper. On Wednesday, Lotka will be doing all he can to make sure MSV come away from the Rote Erde without a goal to their name.

BVB's Julian Hettwer has even fresher connections with the upcoming opposition. The striker moved to BVB from MSV in the summer and is now facing his ex-club for the first time. "I'm still in touch with a lot of the players there, and that won't stop,'' says the 20-year-old. The Bochum native spent five years at Duisburg from 2018 and still feels connected to the club: "When I have the time, I watch MSV games.''

The striker is backing his former club in the battle against relegation - just not on Wednesday. "I hope they get the points they need, but not against us." The past will have no bearing on proceedings: "I'll block out the emotions, our focus is on getting the three points." Hettwer has warmed up in time for the reunion with the Zebras: the right-sided attacker has netted in each of the last two games.

The clash against MSV is part of Matchday 9, which is not scheduled to take place until mid-week. However, the match has been brought forward as the BVB first team are hosting AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League on 4 October and the Rote Erde will therefore be closed.

BVB will be without Prince Aning, Dennis Lütke-Frie, Moses Otuali and Silas Ostrzinski on Wednesday evening.
Daniel Mertens