Dortmund-Brackel, BVB training ground, Friday lunchtime. The sun is shining just before departure for the first match of the new season. The suitcases are stowed away in the bus. Just as the luggage hatch goes down, the 3. Liga logo on a jersey sleeve flashes briefly from one of the laundry baskets. The Borussia Dortmund U23s have arrived in Germany's third tier.
Tension? Barely noticeable. Not even for BVB coach Enrico Maaßen: "The boys are very focused and have trained well. We are ready." The bus, which set off on the 500 km trip at midday, was also ready. After arriving at the hotel, it was all about walking off any tiredness from the journey. On Saturday morning, another walk is planned for after breakfast. In the afternoon, Act 1 of 38 begins with the match away to FSV Zwickau.
The team from Saxony finished last season in tenth place and have a very experienced centre-forward in 38-year-old Ronny König. There are also exciting new signings, such as the 20-year-old American Johan Gomez, who signed from Porto in the summer. "Zwickau will of course be really motivated in their first home game. But so are we. We expect a tough opponent who will get forward with a lot of drive. We are looking forward to the clash," said Maaßen as he discussed the opposition.
The BVB coach will have to do without Stefan Drljaca, Lennard Maloney, Antonios Papadopoulos, Albin Thaqi, Steffen Tigges and Ansgar Knauff, who all travelled to training camp with the first team. In addition, Moritz Broschinski and Florian Krebs are absent due to injury. Nevertheless, the coach believes his team is well prepared for the challenge on Saturday: "We have done a good job of integrating the new arrivals and are at a good place physically.''
Kick-off in the GGZ Arena is scheduled for 14:00 CET on Saturday. BVB fans can only purchase tickets through advance sales. The ticket office will be closed on match day. Please refer to the fan information.