The U23s have bidden farewell to their own supporters with a win in the final home game of the season. The Black & Yellows deservedly beat SpVgg. Bayreuth 1-0 (0-0) in front of more than 2,000 spectators. Falko Michel scored the only goal of the game.
The scenario: The last doubts had been dispelled, the pressure was off. By picking up a point in their 3-3 draw in Aue, the U23s had secured their 3. Liga survival with two rounds of the season remaining. Nonetheless, the Black & Yellows did not want to rest on their laurels. With the first team not in action until Sunday evening, BVB were expecting a large crowd for their final home game of the 2022/23 campaign. Bayreuth's relegation had already been confirmed before kick-off. The U23s had lost the reverse fixture 3-1 away from home.
Personnel matters: Dortmund coach Jan Zimmermann used the match to give game time to players who have recently been less involved. He made four changes to the starting XI that drew in Aue. Silas Ostrzinski lined up between the sticks. It was the 19-year-old's second appearance of the current campaign. The central defensive partnership was formed by Niklas Dams and Pharell Collins, who replaced Antonios Papadopoulos and Bjarne Pudel in the line-up. Rodney Elongo-Yombo was given an opportunity in midfield in place of Ole Pohlmann.
The match & analysis: Spurred on by the spectators, BVB made a very intense and high-tempo start. Justin Njinmah, in particular, cut a very lively figure in the opening minutes thanks to his pace, but he lacked precision with his crosses. After getting off to a lively start, the game died down somewhat. Dortmund continued to have more of the game but goalscoring opportunities remained few and far between. The visitors from Bayreuth also attempted to make their mark going forward but rarely asserted themselves against an alert BVB defence. A harmless shot from distance by Falko Michel remained the only notable opportunity of the first period for a long time (15).
But shortly before half-time, BVB picked up the pace once again – and created three good opportunities: the first saw Bayreuth shot-stopper Lucas Zahaczewski turn a volley from Elongo-Yombo over the crossbar with a strong reflex save (41), before Michael Eberwein (42) and Ted Tattermusch (43) were too imprecise from promising positions.
At the break, Zimmermann brought on two fresh pairs of legs in attack: Moses Otuali and third-tier debutant Samuel Bamba replaced Tattermusch and Elongo-Yombo. Neither the substitutions nor the interval could disrupt the home team's flow. Substitute Bamba forced Zahaczewski into a save via a shot from range. The subsequent corner was even more dangerous, with Eberwein's header crashing against the crossbar (48).
A set-piece ultimately brought about the deserved opener: Michel curled a free-kick past the wall and into the top right corner to make it 1-0 to BVB (56).
Almost every challenge was now being won by the Black & Yellows, who gave Bayreuth hardly any time to breathe. Waves of attacks rained down up the visitors' goal. After Michel (64) and Njinmah (79) had spurned chances for a second goal, the Black & Yellows were almost punished: Collins' pass went straight to Bayreuth's Stefan Maderer, who suddenly had clear sight of goal. But BVB goalkeeper Ostrzinski made a strong save to keep the slender lead intact (73).
Bayreuth followed up their first big opportunity with a late chance but could not break down the home team's defence.
Coach Jan Zimmermann: "It was not really good, but today is the wrong day and the wrong time to be critical. We'll categorise the win as a hard-fought victory. We still have not lost or conceded a goal at the Rote Erde. We know that we must produce a better performance in Osnabrück next week. We now have several exciting challenges behind us. Competing in Osnabrück will be another step in the team's development."
Outlook: The U23s will be away to VfL Osnabrück in their final game of the 2022/23 season on Saturday 27 May. Kick-off is at 13:30 CET.
U23s: Ostrzinski – Özkan, Dams, Collins, Rothe (Aning, 74) – Pfanne – Elongo-Yombo (Bamba, 46), Michel (Suver, 85) – Eberwein, Njinmah – Tattermusch (Otuali, 46)
Goals: 1-0 Michel (56)