It's that time of year again: the U19 squad is in the process of being reformed, pre-season preparations are extremely problematic as players are away supporting the first team and U23s, and the search for the ideal formation will drag on until late summer due to these difficult circumstances. But the objectives remain the same: the team is aiming to play a significant role in every competition, while the coaching staff will also be given the task of developing and training talented youngsters for the senior squad. "We'll get it right. Just like last year," assured Mike Tullberg.
Together with his dedicated team of coaches, Tullberg is tackling these challenges with determination. Last season, they set the bar very high. BVB won the Bundesliga title for the ninth time, reached the DFB-Pokal final and were unlucky to be eliminated from the UEFA Youth League at the quarter-final stage. In addition to Youssoufa Moukoko, the quartet of Göktan Gürpüz, Lion Semic, Tom Rothe and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens played their way into the senior set-up. Bynoe-Gittens became a European champion with the England U19s at the weekend. Dennis Lütke-Frie and Bradley Fink are being given every opportunity in the U23s. Colin Kleine-Bekel (Holstein Kiel) and Bekir El-Zein (SV Sandhausen) departed the title-winning team for clubs in the 2. Bundesliga.
The U19s will again be involved in four competitions in the 2022/23 season: Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, UEFA Youth League and Westfalenpokal. "The Bundesliga is the main focus," declared Mike Tullberg, who extended his contract as head coach of the U19s until 2026 while on vacation. The West German champion will again be determined by each club playing each other once, without return fixtures.
Tullberg is no less ambitious in his approach to the UEFA Youth League. He can count on reinforcements from "above" in Europe's elite youth competition. The draw for the group stage takes place on 25 August, with the first matchday following on 6-7 September. He makes no secret of his great desire to win the DFB-Pokal. "I'd like to bring this trophy to Dortmund next season," he said after the 3-1 final loss to VfB Stuttgart last term.
Noa-Gabriel Simic joins from FC Augsburg
There was only one new arrival from outside the club present at the first training session: Croatia U18 international Noa-Gabriel Simic has moved to Dortmund from FC Augsburg. The forward, who celebrated his 18th birthday on 21 July, racked up 12 goals in the U19-Bundesliga Süd/Südwest last season and even made three appearances for the FC Augsburg U23s in the Regionalliga Bayern. "The lad has huge potential, but he needs to put a lot of work in and still has a lot to learn," said Mike Tullberg of his "wish list signing".
The current group is small. Samuel Bamba and Luke Rahmann are still recovering from the injuries they sustained last season, while a sizeable U19 contingent is currently reinforcing the U23 and first-team squads. The coaches have only 12 players at their disposal, among them some boys from the U17s. "I hope we can top up the squad significantly next week," said Tullberg. It was in Schwäbisch Hall – where the top-quality "Bundesliga Cup" tournament will take place the weekend after next following the training camp (from 11 July), with BVB looking to defend their title – that Tullberg laid the foundations for an outstanding season with team-building sessions last year. The Black & Yellows will play in a group with TSG Hoffenheim, Eintracht Frankfurt and Manchester United.
First friendly on Wednesday against Darmstadt 98
Three goalkeepers (Marian Kirsch, Robin Lisewski and Marlon Zacharias) and 22 outfield players are expected to form the squad for the 2022/23 season. Tom Rothe (part of the extended first-team squad but expected to play predominantly for the U19s), Julian Rijkhoff, Nnamdi Collins, Farouk Cisse, Jonah Husseck, Filippo Mane, Noah Mrosek, Hendry Blank, Michel Ludwig, Vasco Walz, Mika Lenninghaus, Ayukayoh Mengot, Isaac Nwachukwu and Samuel Bamba remain from the title-winning team, while Jaden Korzynietz, Rafael Lubach, Vinzenco Onofrietti, Luke Rahmann, Bismark Quayson, Marlon Ubani and Raul König are to be promoted from the U17s. Tullberg is not ruling out one or two changes.
The first friendly will take place against Darmstadt 98 at the youth academy on Wednesday (6 July, 13:00 CET), with Hannover 96 then set to visit Brackel on Saturday (9 July, 13:00 CET). The squad will then begin their journey to Schwäbisch-Hall on Monday.