Borussia's U19s remain the only team in the Bundesliga West yet to suffer a defeat after signing off for the winter break with a 1-0 win against MSV Duisburg. The result keeps Mike Tullberg's team on track to qualify for the Final Round of the German Championship.
The Black & Yellows eventually got their breakthrough in the 84th minute when Rafael Lubach fired a brilliant shot into the corner. BVB had spurned a series of excellent chances up until that point but ultimately got their reward for a dominant display. "It was a difficult match against a deep-lying opponent. But the team never gave up and deserved to win in the end," said a delighted Mike Tullberg.
Marian Kirsch enjoyed a quiet day at the office up until half-time, with Duisburg finding no way past the commanding central defensive partnership of Filippo Mane and Nnamdi Collins. The duo were key to ensuring the Black & Yellows kept a sixth successive clean sheet. Going forward, however, the team struggled once again. The Duisburg back five were vigilant, while Dortmund lacked the movement and ideas to outmanoeuvre the opposition's stable defensive block.
Nonetheless, they did have one or two opportunities. The biggest chance fell to Vincenzo Onofrietti, who failed to get the better of Schübel from a promising position in the ninth minute. Samuel Bamba put in some hard yards down the right flank but often failed to make the right decisions at the last moment. Another clear-cut chance was spurned by Julian Rijkhoff, who fired the ball wide of the left post from close range shortly before the half-time whistle.
The team upped the intensity significantly in the second period. After several moments of carelessness in defence that were cleaned up by Marian Kirsch, BVB increased the pressure and aggression. But Samuel Bamba, Julian Rijkhoff and substitute Hendry Blank could not manage to put the ball in the back of the net. The Black & Yellows grew even more dominant following the dismissal of Duisburg's Lennox Kern in the 64th minute. "The only reproach you can make of the lads is that they did not convert their good chances," explained Tullberg.
The BVB coach reacted early and broke up his back line by substituting off Filippo Mane. The first change saw Hendry Blank come on for Jaden Korzynietz (63), then Rafael Lubach replaced Michel Ludwig (69) and Noa Gabriel Simic bolstered the attack as a nominal left-back in the final quarter-hour. BVB fervently claimed for a penalty for an alleged Duisburg handball, but the claims were waved away. Then Paris Brunner had a chance – but Duisburg maintained their clean sheet thanks to a mixture of fortune and skill. Until Rafael Lubach seized the initiative and secured the three points.
"The team's performances are not to be taken for granted. I have to emphasise that again and again. We're still unbeaten, still represented in international competition and are optimally placed to qualify for the German Championship via a leading position in the Bundesliga," summarised a satisfied Mike Tullberg. The Bundesliga will now break until 19 February. Before that, the lads will resume their UEFA Youth League campaign on 7 February. They will travel to Edinburgh to face Hibernian in the play-off round.
BVB: Kirsch – Cisse, Collins, Mane, Korzynietz (Blank, 63) – Bamba, Walz, Onofrietti, Ludwig (Lubach, 69) – Rijkhoff, Brunner.