First victory of the season for the Black and Yellows in the Drittliga: Borussia Dortmund's U23s beat our neighbours Rot-Weiss Essen 1-0 in front of a record crowd of 11,079 fans.
Personnel: Coach Christian Preußer made three changes to his starting eleven from the unlucky 1-0 defeat in Saarbrücken. Right-back Mateu Morey celebrated his competitive comeback after a 15-month absence due to injury (cruciate ligament tear), meaning Mario Suver dropped to the bench. On the left wing, Justin Njinmah, who gave BVB a big boost after he came on in Saarbrücken, was given the nod ahead of Moritz Broschinski. On the right wing, Ole Pohlmann was again in the starting line-up.
The opposition: Like Borussia's U23s, Rot-Weiss Essen had started with only one point from their first three games, conceding 11 goals. Coach Christoph Dabrowski made the following two changes to the 4-1 home defeat against Fortuna Köln: Herzenbruch and Tarnat started in place of Eisfeld and Berlinski.
The match: There was a great atmosphere in the stadium, and BVB took the initiative in the early stages, without creating any real chances. In the second minute, Antonio Papadopoulos played a ball out wide to Njinmah, but he couldn't get it under control. The Black and Yellows enjoyed a lot of possession, while the away side dropped deep, but got their first good chance in front of Marcel Lotka's goal after 16 minutes. After a flat cross from the right, however, Simon Engelmann shot well wide after striking the ball on the turn.
On 22 minutes, the home team took a much-celebrated lead. Away keeper Golz dallied on the ball and Bradley Fink was on it in a flash and prodded home to give BVB the lead.
Shortly before the break, Finnsson had the opportunity to double his side's lead after a delightful one-two with Njinmah, but his effort hit the outside netting, so the two sides went into the dressing rooms at 1-0 at half time.
Coach Christian Preußer made two changes at the break: Can Özkan came into the game for captain Franz Pfanne, who had been given a yellow card. Mateu Morey stayed in the dressing room after 45 minutes in his successful comeback, and the Spaniard was replaced by Lion Semic.
On 56 minutes, Marcel Lotka was called into action for the first time in the second half, but Ennali's shot from out wide was easily handled by the Dortmund keeper. Only one minute later, Lotka was called upon again. It was again Ennali who shot from close range, but the BVB shot-stopper made an excellent save to deny his curled effort. That heralded a 10-minute period with RWE on top, but the U23s stood up to the pressure, partly thanks to Niklas Dams, who cleared a lob off the line on 65 minutes.
In the last 10 minutes, Dortmund had to come through some dicey situations again. The best opportunity for the away side fell to Plechaty, but the Essen man fired his shot over the bar. Overall, BVB passionately defended the lead and in the end were able to celebrate a first win of the season – their first home win since February 2021 (1-0 against Havelse), in front of the Südtribüne.
Antonios Papadopoulos: "That was brutally important. Our first win of the season – it doesn't matter how you get it. I have to give the team a huge compliment. Everyone stayed cool when Essen were putting us under pressure. We defended everything and kept all three points."
BVB U23s: Lotka – Finnsson, Dams, Papadopoulos, Morey (Semic, 46) – Kamara (Michel, 58), Pfanne (Özkan, 46) – Njinmah (Broschinski, 66), Eberwein, Pohlmann (Pasalic, 77) – Fink
Goals: 1-0 Fink (22)
Next up: On Saturday, 20 August 2022, our U23s will travel to play SV Waldhof Mannheim. Kick-off at the Carl-Benz-Stadion is at 14:00 CET.