Borussia Dortmund's U23s ran out 1-0 victors in an open game away to RW Oberhausen on Matchday 34 of the Regionalliga West. Tobi Raschl scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the 18th minute as the Black & Yellows picked up another win and maintained their nine-point lead at the summit.
The scenario: BVB went into this match as the league leaders. Their cushion over second place was only six points prior to kick-off, after Essen had won 2-0 in Straelen on Saturday. Oberhausen occupied eighth place with 50 points.
Personnel matters: BVB boss Enrico Maaßen made two changes to the starting XI that had lined up away to Borussia Mönchengladbach, with Florian Krebs and Alaa Bakir replacing Steffen Tigges and Marco Hober.
The match & analysis: BVB made their usual courageous start, putting RWO under early pressure and forcing the first loss of possession after two minutes. Tobi Raschl could only be stopped by a foul 20 metres from goal, with Florian Krebs firing the resultant free-kick into the wall. The Black & Yellows were the superior side and had further opportunities, which fell to Dominik Wanner and Tobi Raschl. Even without their captain and top goalscorer Steffen Tigges, the Dortmund attack made a nuisance of itself in the Oberhausen penalty area. Leading the charge was Tobi Raschl, who alone registered three shots at goal in the opening quarter of an hour.
But Tobi Raschl's fourth shot of the match after 18 minutes did find its way into the Oberhausen net. A penalty was awarded for a foul on Alaa Bakir in the box and the 21-year-old converted to hand his side a deserved 1-0 lead. It was Raschl's sixth goal of the campaign. The Black & Yellows dominated in the period that followed, allowing Oberhausen hardly any opportunity to attack and continuing to go forward courageously themselves. They had chances to double their lead, but could not take them and the half-time whistle sounded with the visitors narrowly but deservedly ahead.
Both teams opted against making any personnel changes at the interval. RWO were slightly more attack-minded after the break, while BVB focused in the opening minutes on defending compactly and did not allow their opponent a single shot at this stage of the game. But Oberhausen did go close on 67 minutes when Shaibou Oubeyapwa struck the bar from around 20 metres. BVB were lacking some composure on the ball, with possession changing hands by the minute. Oberhausen made attacking changes in a bid to level the score. "Stay calm, keep the ball," was the call from BVB boss Enrico Maaßen on the sidelines.
Oberhausen invested everything, with all their outfield players up in the Dortmund box right until the last free-kick in the seventh minute of stoppage time. The long ball from the centre-circle flew into the area and was missed by two BVB players. The unmarked Sven Kreyer poked the ball past Luca Unbehaun, but Lennard Maloney was on the goal-line. Despite being off balance, he cleared the shot and secured the three points for BVB.
The match reactions:
Enrico Maaßen: "We're happy that we won the match. We knew that we were up against a very strong team. Oberhausen have developed very well this season. We had to give it everything, performed very well in the first half and deservedly led. Then there were one or two counter-attacks that we didn't see through cleanly. The game hung in the balance during the second half and a 1-1 draw remained a possibility."
Lennard Maloney: "There was another long ball in stoppage time. There was a lot of desire involved. I guessed correctly, was in the right place and then scraped the ball off the line. That feels like a goal to me."
Felix Passlack: "Going 1-0 up early on was decisive. Unfortunately, we subsequently missed the opportunity to wrap it up early. That meant that things obviously got tight at the end. But we defended well and in the end there was a bit of luck involved too."
Outlook: Next up for the U23s is a home game against their FC Schalke 04 counterparts next Saturday. Kick-off in Brackel is at 14:00 CET.
Team & goals
BVB U23s: Unbehaun – Passlack (Bah-Traore, 66), Maloney, Bakir (Ercan, 72), Tachie, Thaqie, Pfanne, Krebs (Makreckis, 74), Dams, Raschl, Wanner (Finnsson, 68)
Goals: 0-1 Raschl (pen., 18)