Borussia Dortmund's U23s played out a 1-1 draw away to SSV Ulm. Falko Michel, who had come on as a substitute just a minute earlier, headed the ball into the back of the net from a Julian Hettwer cross to score the equaliser after the home side had taken the lead in the first half.

The scenario: The U23 team coached by Jan Zimmermann defeated TSV 1860 Munich 3-0 last Sunday, thanks in no small part to a very strong second half performance. The Black & Yellows had not managed to win two games in a row since September. With just five defeats from 17 games, the young BVB side had one fewer defeat than SSV going into the game. Ulm had to move to their alternative venue in Aalen, around an hour away, because there is no under-pitch heating at their home ground, the Donaustadion.

Personnel matters: After serving out his suspension, Hendry Blank moved up to the first-team squad for their match against Leipzig. As against 1860, Zimmermann opted for a back four of Guille Bueno, Mario Suver, Franz Pfanne and Ted Tattermusch. Falko Michel returned to the squad after his suspension. SSV Ulm, on the other hand, were able to draw on a full complement of players.

The match: The home side started aggressively and put BVB under a lot of pressure early on. The first 20 minutes were back and forth, with good opportunities on both sides. Franz Roggow, Rodney Elongo-Yombo and Julian Hettwer all had chances to give Borussia the lead. But the home side also had several chances, notably through Scienza and Chessa, with Scienza hitting the crossbar. After half an hour, BVB had their best spell, pressing the home side high up the pitch and causing problems for the "Sparrows" in their build-up play. However, it was precisely at this stage that the Black & Whites took the lead: after being set up by Scienza, Higl had the simplest of finishes to open the scoring for Ulm. Shortly afterwards, Dortmund goalkeeper Silas Ostrzinski made two excellent saves in quick succession to ensure the Black & Yellows went in at half-time trailing by just one goal.

After the break, it was once again the home side who had the first big chance after 18 seconds, but Ostrzinski was again on hand to make the save. BVB coach Zimmermann made his first substitution in the 55th minute: Patrick Göbel and Falko Michel came on to replace Ted Tattermusch and Michael Eberwein. The switch had the desired effect and the game immediately moved into Ulm's half. Soon enough, the breakthrough came, as Falko Michel headed a cross from Julian Hettwer into the back of the net from the back post to draw the two teams level at 1-1. Immediately afterwards, Hettwer set off on a run, outpaced the defence, rounded the goalkeeper, fired a shot on goal from a tight angle, but Ulm defender Reichert was able to get back and clear the ball to safety. The Black & Yellows were now the dominant team and Michel had further opportunities. The Swabians needed a few minutes to process the equaliser before they launched fierce attacks on Silas Ostrzinski's goal. But BVB defended their area with passion and gave very little away.

In the end, a draw was a fair result, and one BVB can be satisfied with, given that it increases the distance between them and the relegation zone by a point. 

Outlook: The BVB U23s are next in action this coming Saturday (16 December), when they host Halleschen FC at the Rote Erde stadium (kick-off 14:00 CET). 

U23s: Ostrzinski – Tattermusch (55, Michel), Pfanne, Suver, Guille Bueno – Roggow, Azhil, Pohlmann (87, Pohlmann), Hettwer (87, Hettwer), Elongo-Yombo – Eberwein (55, Göbel)

Goals: 1-0 Higl (38), 1-1 Michel (56)