What a game! The Borussia Dortmund U23s created a whole host of chances against Wuppertaler SV but hit the woodwork four times and ultimately came away empty-handed following a 1-0 defeat.
Following his return from Denmark, where he has just obtained a UEFA Pro License, coach Mike Tullberg named almost exactly the same XI that beat Lotte last Sunday. Goalkeeper Eric Oelschlägel, who was on the bench for the senior squad's cup tie, was the only absentee from that win. The 33-year-old Dane returned to his homeland in the course of the week to take his final coaching examinations.
"One or two people might think I totally flipped my lid in the changing rooms after the match. Not the case at all. That was probably the best performance we've had. We had seven absolutely gilt-edged chances. But in the end we didn't take our chances, as was the case throughout pre-season and in the first two games we played against Essen and Lotte. We must and will learn from it," said Tullberg.
In contrast to the previous two matches in their Regionalliga West campaign, the U23s were without much Black & Yellow support in the stands tonight, with the fixture having been scheduled to take place at the same time as the senior squad's cup tie. But there were still 1,966 spectators at the iconic "Stadion am Zoo" – among them the BVB U19 boss Michael Skibbe, "talent coach" Otto Addo, a handful of U19 players and the young senior player Tobias Raschl, who were all there to lend their support and observe.
Boyamba comes close - but is denied by the post!
As has become the norm since Tullberg took over, the Black & Yellows pressed tenaciously and gave Wuppertal little time or space to play out from the back. Attacking, however, was a different story, with the pitch conditions making it difficult for the visitors to play their usual high-tempo football. In the seventh minute, Bünning played a pass into midfield which Boyamba controlled with his chest before carrying the ball past the entire Wuppertal defence. His shot, however, rebounded off the post. Had he looked up, he would have seen Tigges in acres of space. That attempt marked the start of a strong period for Dortmund. Führich broke through down the left flank two times in quick succession just minutes later, but he was first denied by the keeper Pepic and then his square ball was cut out by the opposition on the second occasion.
That was followed by a moment of danger at the other end in the 14th minute, as BVB defender Julian Schwermann attempted to clear a cross but instead headed the ball towards his own goal. It was a close shave. Only two minutes later at the other end, the eagle-eyed Taylan Duman quickly took an indirect free-kick in the opposition half and picked out Joseph Boyamba with a pass, although his effort sailed over. Just a few minutes later, it was Duman whose solo run was thwarted by the outstretched leg of a Wuppertal defender.
Woodwork denies Boyamba once more!
When Boyamba subsequently broke through down the right wing and played a beautiful ball into the centre towards Chris Führich, BVB could be forgiven for thinking they were about to score. But once again, the woodwork came to Wuppertal's rescue!
A short while later, there was a heart-in-mouth moment in the BVB box but Hippe atoned for his positional error and won the ball back from Wuppertal's Marzullo. The visitors had an attempt from long range on the 30-minute mark, but the keeper parried Führich's effort away to safety.
WSV then created one of their first real chances completely against the run of play, launching a sweeping and speedy attacking move. Although former Dortmund striker Ametov did not initially manage to get a shot away following a cross from the left, his second attempt came close to beating shot-stopper Jan Reckert. Wuppertal, who had been harmless up until that point, seem galvanised and subsequently placed the BVB rearguard under aggressive pressure, which culminated in Lukas Knechtel opening the scoring for WSV following an assist from Ametov. It's fair to say it was a rather fortuitous lead at that stage!
BVB miss numerous chances in the second period
The woodwork proved to be BVB's nemesis for a third time after the break, with Duman's free-kick striking the bar. Tigges then spurned the best chance to equalise following a corner, skying the ball with a shot from 10 metres. As the rain poured down, the Black & Yellows did not let up but the pitch conditions meant they could not move the ball at speed and only a few attacks posed a threat. Their opponents, Wuppertal, threw themselves into every challenge, with their fans celebrating every time they won the ball or a tackle. BVB were denied by the woodwork one last time when Führich played a through-ball into Boyamba, whose shot from a tight angle crashed against the crossbar.