The Borussia Dortmund U23s will round off Matchday 17 in the 3. Liga on Sunday evening (19:30 CET): former German champions TSV 1860 Munich will pay a visit to the Rote Erde.

The Black & Yellows are likely to have fond memories of their last clash with the Lions: the U23s played like a team unleashed as they ran out 4-1 winners at Grünwalder Straße at the end of March. Coach Jan Zimmermann certainly would not mind if history were to repeat itself this time. However, the coach emphasised: "It will be a close game. 1860 have much more quality than their current position in the table would suggest." With a wink, the coach added: "But that applies to us too." The men from Munich are currently 14th in the table with 20 points, while the U23s are directly above them with one point more.

Zimmermann will have to reshuffle his starting XI once again before the clash. Falko Michel will miss the match through suspension, as will Hendry Blank following his dismissal in Aue. Marcel Lotka must still serve two matches of his suspension. But Samuel Bamba is fit and available again. "We have a few personnel tight spots," said the Dortmund coach, who was nonetheless in combative mood: "We want to pick up as many points as possible before the winter break to put ourselves in a good starting position. We naturally want to get three points against 1860."

Meanwhile, the close interconnection between the U23s, the Bundesliga team and the U19s has been on display once again during the past week of training. The players who were not nominated for the Champions League squad in Milan trained with the U23s. This made Zimmermann's job easier, as he was able to work with a larger training group. Hendry Blank was once again on the bench for the first-team match in Milan, while Abdoulaye Kamara also travelled to Lombardy and played for the U19s in the UEFA Youth League. BVB coaches Edin Terzic and Zimmerman work in close coordination. In the eyes of the U23 coach, nominations of his players for the Bundesliga team are a special form of recognition for the talented youngsters – and, by extension, for the work done by the coaching staff. 
Daniel Mertens