Borussia Dortmund's U23s earned a point away from home in their final match of the calendar year. Hosts Lotte, relegated from the third tier last term, opened the scoring in the first period only for Steffen Tigges to level late on to rescue a 1-1 draw for BVB.
The pre-match scenario: BVB were looking for the win which would lift them to seventh in the table. And the omens were pretty good too. The Black & Yellows had emerged 2-1 winners from the reverse fixture with Lotte, with Mory Konate and Steffen Tigges scoring the goals in front of 4,000 fans at Stadion Rote Erde. The overall head-to-head record against Sportfreunde was very good too, with the last defeat at Autobahnkreuz coming back in 2009.
Personnel matters: Injury problems had mounted ahead of the final fixture of 2019. Steven Tunga had sustained an injury in the match against Essen and was out of contention for the Lotte fixture, while Lars Bünning was suspended after amassing five yellow cards. Eric Oelschlägel also withdrew at short notice; the shot-stopper had been called up by the first-team to replace Marwin Hitz as the back-up keeper in Mainz.
The match & analysis: Both teams took some took to familiarise themselves with their opponents and the pitch conditions. BVB tried to settle into their rhythm by keeping possession and consequently chances were few and far between in the opening minutes. Lotte grew in confidence midway through the first period, but neither team took too many risks on the ball with defensive solidity taking precedence. But just as the first period was drawing to a close, Lotte produced their best attack of the match and broke the deadlock. Following a wonderful give and go, Marcell Sobotta went clean through on Reckert and beat the Dortmund shot-stopper to put his side 1-0 up before the break.
Hosts Lotte looked to kill the game off quickly in the second period. They were the superior side and made life difficult for the Borussia Dortmund rearguard, but the new-look back four held firm and did not ship any more goals. The game died down a bit in the period that followed and it was at this point that BVB really gave it everything they had. Their reward came 10 minutes from time when Osnabrück-born Steffen Tigges, who had also netted in the reverse fixture, levelled the score at 1-1 after a shot from Joseph Boyamba had initially been blocked.
BVB were reduced to 10 men for the final minutes after Taylan Duman was sent off for a second bookable offence five minutes from time. But Lotte's attacking efforts were kept at bay as BVB held on to secure a deserved 1-1 draw. They are now eighth in the table with 25 points and a goal difference of zero after 19 games.
Outlook: The winter break now begins for the U23s, who are next in action when they welcome KFC Uerdingen to Brackel for a behind-closed-doors friendly on 7 January 2020. The first competitive game of the new calendar year – a home fixture against Wuppertaler SV – has been scheduled for 25 January 2020 at 14:00 CET.
BVB U23s: Reckert – Hippe, Rente, Ruprecht, Finnsson (Wanner, 53), Hober, Duman, Raschl (Et, 60) – Führich (Relucio, 89), Tigges, Boyamba (Kaastrup, 90)
Goals: 1-0 Sobotta (42), 1-1 Tigges (80)