The next intensive period of fixtures will begin for the Borussia Dortmund U23s with a home game this Saturday (14:00 CET, Stadion Rote Erde). BVB have four league matches to play before the end of October – including the top match away to Fortuna Cologne at the end of the month.

But first up are promoted outfit RW Ahlen on Saturday. Currently languishing in 19th in the Regionalliga table, they have lost their last three matches and only picked up points against Lotte (2-1 win) and the 1. FC Cologne reserves (1-1 draw) this term. Coach Björn Mehnert, who is still very well-known from his time in Dortmund as a BVB player, is not satisfied with his side's points tally from their opening seven games of the season. To make matters worse, they suffered a defeat against lower-league TuS Haltern in the cup in midweek (4-3 on penalties).

Among the standout players for the visitors is Mohamed El Bouazzati. Now 23, he spent over 10 years in a BVB shirt, twice winning the German title at A and B Youth level and becoming a junior Morocco international too. Following long spells injured and stints in Ukraine, Augsburg and the Ruhr, El Bouazzati returned to Ahlen ahead of this season. 

The mood in the Black & Yellow camp is very good. Coach Enrico Maaßen's charges remain unbeaten and currently occupy top spot in the Regionalliga West. But the players and officials are not getting ahead of themselves, with too many fixtures still to play. "We need to do our homework week-in, week-out and then we'll see where that gets us in the end," said Maaßen.
Timo Lammert