"The first steps are worthless if you don't follow it through to the end," an Indian philosopher once said. The same could be said of the first few weeks of 2020 for the Dortmund U23s. The reserves are still unbeaten with seven points on the board – a satisfactory tally from their first three matches. But what will prove decisive as they strive to acquire the unofficial title of "Best U23 Team in the League" will be the important clashes with direct rivals coming up in the next few weeks, which will give the Black & Yellows the opportunity to close the gap to the summit.

Coach Mike Tullberg's charges will have the opportunity to continue their run when they visit the Fortuna Düsseldorf reserves on Friday evening. The aim will be to show that the inconsistencies that plagued the team in the first half of the season are over. Consistency will be required if they are to achieve their aim. There should be no problems if the team can build on their performance against Haltern. Defensive solidity coupled with attacking power were the key ingredients that allowed the Black & Yellows to run out comfortable 4-0 winners in the end. It's not going to be easy against Düsseldorf on Friday, however. The Rhinelanders might be down in 12th place, but they too are unbeaten in 2020 – having drawn against Bonn and in Gelsenkirchen since the turn of the year.

Defender Julian Schwermann will not be available for BVB. The 20-year-old made his comeback against Wuppertal following a long spell out injured, but has now been sidelined again with torn muscle fibres. Luca Unbehaun could return between the sticks, having played for the U19s in the Youth League in midweek.