The coach is full of optimism and positivity. "On Sunday we want to rock the Stadion Rote Erde and give it all we've got," announced Sebastian Geppert prior to the Final of the German Championship against 1. FC Cologne (kick-off 13:00 CET, live on the BVB channels BVB TV, Facebook and Youtube). Should they win, the U17s – spearheaded by their captains Rilind Hetemi and Youssoufa Moukoko – will be history-makers.
For Borussia Dortmund would not only be the joint record-holders in the U17 category − level with VfB Stuttgart on seven titles; they would also be the first club to claim both junior Bundesliga titles in the same season. The U19 team took the first step towards that unprecedented feat by becoming A-Junior champions with a 5-3 victory over VfB Stuttgart 14 days ago, and now the B-Juniors have the opportunity to follow suit and round off what has been a sensational season for the club's youth sides. Even the younger teams − the U16s, the U15s and the U14s − all finished their respective campaigns by becoming West German or Westphalian champions. It's an unparalleled achievement in German youth football.
"I hope that the grand setting will spur us on rather than inhibit us," said Geppert as he reflected on the pros and cons of playing the final at home. Tickets for seats in the "Rote Erde" stand are already sold out. Caution is advised, however. "Cologne have a good team with a lot of quality going forward," warned Geppert, as he lauded the young Billy Goats' offensive strength. The Cologne youngsters claimed 1-0 and 4-0 victories over a Bayern Munich side coached by former Germany international Mirsolav Klose in their two semi-final meetings, although they undoubtedly benefited from the fact that their opponents picked up red cards early on in both legs.
Lion Semic, who missed the semi-final first leg against Wolfsburg, is back to full fitness and available for the clash with Cologne. That means Sebastian Geppert will be able to field a full-strength side in the final, which will be refereed by Patrick Alt. The 34-year-old from Illingen has been officiating in the 2. Bundesliga since 2015.
Here's how they might line up: Klußmann – Semic (Özden), Thaqi, Böhmer, Kuffour – Amedick, Lütke Frie – Knauff, Hetemi, Pakia – Moukoko. (wiwi)