The Borussia Dortmund U23s are back home. After a little over a year of waiting, BVB's youngsters can finally play at the Rote Erde stadium again on Saturday. Kick-off in the match against Halle FC is at 14:00 CET.
At the start of this week, the Rote Erde still looked like a major construction site: trucks were out on the pitch, as were mountains of sand, as the new pitch surface had to be laid. But the work was all completed on schedule, and on Saturday, the U23s can finally play at home once more. "We are looking forward to playing where we feel at home again and getting into our routines," said coach Jan Zimmermann, for whom it will be a first competitive match in this stadium. "That might add an extra one or two percent to our performance."
The Black and Yellows' last appearance at the Rote Erde was exactly 376 days ago. On 21 March 2022, the U23s had to bid farewell to the stadium for a long time, falling to a 1-0 defeat against Eintracht Braunschweig, who would go on to claim promotion. Of course, BVB are hoping that their return will be more triumphant, although there is a good chance of a 0-0 in the game against Halle if you look at the statistics: Four of the last six matches between the two sides have ended goalless, including the reverse fixture in mid-October.
The U23s currently lie 15th in the 3. Liga table on 30 points. Halle are just below them with two points less. So Dortmund's coach Jan Zimmermann would not be satisfied with another draw: "We want to win the game.“
After the two recent convincing wins against Zwickau (4-0) and away at 1860 Munich (4-1), the U23s head into the game brimming with confidence. However, Zimmermann is warning against complacency: "The two games were not an indication that we will now win every game so comfortably. The league is too competitive for that. We should not overestimate the victories and must continue to work hard." However, the coach is of course counting on the fact that the recent upward trend will continue in general: "I hope that there will be fewer ups and downs in our games now and we will be more consistent."
A third win in a row for the Black and Yellows could even see them move up to mid-table and thus finally consign the 2-1 defeat in the game at VfB Oldenburg to the history books. In Franz Pfanne and Antonios Papadopoulos, the U23s will have two of their top performers back in action after their suspensions for picking up five yellow cards. "They are two really important guys," says Zimmermann. What's more, the players on international duty have all returned in good health. Apart from long-term absentee Dennis Lütke-Frie, only Marco Pasalic will be missing, as he is struggling with an illness.
The game will be streamed live on Magenta-TV (Germany).