UEFA Youth League Matchday 6 was another night to remember for the Borussia Dortmund U19s, who beat Slavia Prague 5-1 to finish second in their group and qualify for the play-off round. The draw takes place on 16 December. Inter Milan go directly into the knockout stages after beating FC Barcelona 2-0 to top the group. "We've achieved our intermediate goal and will still be in the competition once the winter is over. Congratulations to the team and the coach on another strong performance," said a delighted Youth Coordinator Lars Ricken. BVB will play their play-off tie away from home.
The atmosphere was electric – thanks in part to the many away supporters who had made the journey from Prague and who witnessed an extremely focused and disciplined performance from BVB for the vast majority of the match. But the visitors, who had followed up their 1-0 victory in the reverse fixture with surprise wins against Barcelona and Inter Milan, helped to make it a thrilling and entertaining encounter at the youth training centre in Hohenbuschei by delivering an extremely pleasing performance themselves. "Slavia were tough opponents and really put our defence to the test in the opening 20, 25 minutes," admitted coach Michael Skibbe.
And it was the visitors who created the first big opportunity of the match, although Luca Unbehaun got the better of Adam Toula in a one-on-one battle to keep the scores level. "We're happy Luca was able to play again. He makes the differences on many occasions," said Skibbe of his No. 1. BVB, who had made a bright start to the game, appeared to be visibly impressed in the minutes that followed – in part thanks to the vociferous support of the Slavia fans.
But it was the Black & Yellows who took the lead against the run of play, Youssoufa Moukoko striking a shot at goal from 25 metres that took a slight deflection on its way through and crept into the bottom corner. In the period that followed, the Black & Yellows increasingly took the initiative and seized control.
Youssoufa Moukoko brace
Giovanni Reyna, who shone in midfield alongside Tobias Raschl and the outstanding Immanuel Pherai, had an effort kept out by goalkeeper Markovic in the 31st minute but claimed the assist to set up Moukoko for the second goal of the game three minutes later. The American youngster, who had been included in the first-team squad only last Saturday, then made it 3-0 himself thanks to a brilliant assist from Pherai, who had beaten an opponent down the right flank and crossed into the centre with the outside of his boot. "It was a really good performance from our team," said a delighted Edwin Boekamp, who heads up the Youth Department.
The Black & Yellows kept the game firmly under their control in the second period, continuing to look alert and solid. Youssoufa Moukoko had two attempts on goal in the 54th and 56th minute respectively, but it was Giovanni Reyna who finally added the fourth goal on the 59-minute mark following excellent link-up play from Raschl and Pherai. The two scorers then linked up brilliantly for the fifth goal five minutes later, Moukoko intercepting a poorly struck free-kick and playing a one-two with Reyna before beating Markovic to make it 5-0. It was a brilliant passage of play. "We have top-level quality going forward, but we showed hardly any defensive vulnerabilities either," declared Skibbe.
Injured Schell sent for doping test
Slavia did manage to claim a late consolation goal, however, with Cerv getting the better of Ferjani and setting up Toula to make it 5-1 in the 74th minute. There would have been another had it not been for good defending from Julius Schell, who then suffered a nasty ankle injury following a collision and had to be substituted. "I hope that the ligaments haven't been affected," said Michael Skibbe, who could not comprehend UEFA's decision to send the injured Schell to complete a doping test after the final whistle.
The BVB U19s will round off their action this calendar year with a trip to Alemannia Aachen in the Junior Bundesliga on Sunday (13:00 CET).
BVB: Unbehaun – Terzi, Ferjani, Schell (Kuffour, 84), Göckan – Pherai (Schlüsselburg, 84), Raschl – Knauff, Reyna (Amedick, 89), Bakir (Khardra, 67) – Moukoko.