U19s & U17s to play in DFB special match round
The Borussia Dortmund U19s and U17s will take part in the special match round that the executive committee of the German Football Association has offered all clubs in the A and B Junior Bundesliga in order to provide the teams with competitive game time beyond the end of the short season.
Fearing further cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic, the association's leadership made the decision last spring to reduce the highest junior division to a single-match round-robin format without return fixtures – as it had previously done in the 2021/22 season – and to end the campaign in mid-March after 15 (Bundesliga West) and 17 (Süd/Südwest and Nord/Nordost) matches respectively. The final round of the German Championship then takes place in April.
The special match round, in which both BVB youth teams will take part, starts at the end of March and runs until June. In the preliminary round, the teams will be divided into groups of four or five based on their region. The teams will play against each other once in the group phase. Clubs taking part in the Final Round of the German Championship in 2023 will skip the preliminary round and enter straight into the main round, where they will face the first and second-placed sides from the group phase in "Liga A". The teams in "Liga A" will be divided into groups of four or five, while the groups in Liga B will consist of four teams only.
"More games under competitive conditions"
"I'm happy that we will have a few more games under competitive conditions. It was not a good decision to play the Bundesliga in a single-match round-robin format once again," explained U19 head coach Mike Tullberg. Borussia's U17 coach Karsten Gorges added: "We're happily taking part, but we would've preferred a Bundesliga season with home and away fixtures. In the event of a new wave of corona, they could have always reacted by postponing matches." After an almost two and a half month long winter break, the B Juniors will commence the Bundesliga's spring round on 26 February and will have only three matches to play before the end of the season.
In the special match round, "we will predominantly field players whom we're factoring into our plans for the 2023/24 season," announced Mike Tullberg. Currently, the UEFA Youth League play-off against Hibernian in Edinburgh (7/2) and the four remaining league games take priority for him. BVB sit top of the A Junior Bundesliga West alongside 1. FC Cologne and are bidding to qualify for the Final Round of the German Championship once again. Borussia's U17s might presently be in third place – six points adrift of second-placed Arminia Bielefeld and eight points behind leaders Schalke 04 – but the exciting fixture schedule keeps their chances of qualifying for the German Championship matches alive. (wiwi)