The Borussia Dortmund U23s ended their goal drought and picked up their second win of the 3. Liga season. The Black & Yellows beat Viktoria Köln 2-1 at Stadion Rote Erde.
The scenario: The Borussia Dortmund U23s had made a good start to the season, but coach Jan Zimmermann's charges had failed to win any of the last three competitive games. With five games played, they had only scored one goal. After a strong start to the season of their own, Viktoria Köln were winless in three matches too.
Personnel matters: Central defender Antonios Papadopoulos made his first appearance of the season against Viktoria. He replaced Bjarne Pudel in the back four. Coach Zimmermann made three changes to his starting line-up compared to the 2-0 defeat in Saarbrücken. In addition to Papadopoulos, Abdoulaye Kamara came in for Franz Pfanne to make his first start and the recently injured Julian Hettwer began in place of Justin Butler. The Dortmund coach was still without the injured Prince Aning, Dennis Lütke-Frie, Jonah Husseck and Moses Otuali. Back-up goalkeeper Silas Ostrzinski was also ruled out at short notice.
The match & analysis: The spectators at Stadion Rote Erde saw a furious opening phase: both teams started with a lot of tempo and sought out shooting opportunities. Barely three minutes had been played when Köln's Simon Handle missed the target by centimetres. But Hettwer went one better and justified the trust shown by the coach in the sixth minute. Viktoria goalkeeper Ben Voll managed to save the 20-year-old's first shot but the ball bounced off the Dortmund player's leg and into the back of the net. With their noses in front, BVB continued to attack. Pohlmann could have increased the advantage but was denied by Voll from long range (9).
But a short while later, the net bulged at the other end. Following a light challenge from Patrick Göbel on opposing player Luca Marseiler, referee Felix Prigan pointed to the penalty spot. Patrick Koronkiewicz stepped up and was initially kept out by BVB shot-stopper Marcel Lotka, who went the right way. The follow-up found the back of the net, however (14).
Köln now invested even more and increasingly tried to get forward, especially down the left flank. But the Black & Yellows continued to pose a danger again and again through their fast attacking players. Dortmund's best opportunity was squandered by Paul-Philipp Besong, who went clean through on the Köln goal but pushed the ball too far in front of him. Köln almost turned the game around before the break, but Marseiler (45) and Niklas May (45+2) lacked precision.
Dortmund emerged from the changing rooms focused – and rewarded themselves again with an early goal. Michel played a dream ball through to Besong, who cut into the box and was brought down by Köln captain Moritz Fritz. The match official pointed to the spot for the second time. Pohlmann confidently converted the resultant penalty to fire BVB into a 2-1 lead (51). Spurred on by his first goal of the season, Dortmund's livewire looked to get another shot away shortly afterwards following a lovely piece of individual play. But this time Voll came out on top (52).
Köln looked for answers in the period that followed but could not find any against a combative Dortmund team. Although a few spaces did open up here and there, it took a while before Köln created a good opportunity for themselves. But Lotka shone once away and clawed a deflected cross away from the corner (75). For the home team, Pohlmann missed a great opportunity to decide the game in the 82nd minute.
Coach Jan Zimmermann: "My team played at 100% today. It was really good in terms of our attitude and willingness. Viktoria Köln have a super positional game; they make it really tough. But we wanted to rediscover our switch play. I think we deserved to win in the end. But if we have eight points on the board after our opening set of fixtures, there is little reason to complain. The way we are playing gives a lot of courage and confidence that we are on the right track."
Julian Hettwer: "The first goal is a special feeling. The fact that we can score goals came as a relief to us all. I also spurned a few chances myself."
Outlook: The season continues for the U23s on Saturday (23/9) away to SC Verl, who claimed a 3-2 win at MSV Duisburg on Matchday 6 and celebrated their second victory of the season. Kick-off is at 14:00 CET.
Goals: 1-0 Hettwer (6), 1-1 Koronkiewicz (pen., 14), 2-1 Pohlmann (pen., 51)
U23s: Lotka – Göbel, Blank, Papadopoulos, Bueno – Kamara (Roggow, 45), Pohlmann, Eberwein (Pfanne, 78), Pohlmann (Butler, 90+1), Michel, Hettwer (Bamba, 66) – Besong (Nischalke, 66)