The U23s kept a cool head amid a snowstorm at the Rote Erde and won their home game against 1860 Munich 3-0 (0-0) in front of a crowd of 1,833 spectators.
The scenario: Both teams went into the game as table neighbours. The U23s had 21 points prior to the match and were one place and one point better off than 1860. The Black & Yellows had suffered a 2-0 defeat in Aue last time out and were on a four-match winless run.
Personnel matters: Dortmund coach Jan Zimmermann made five changes to the team that started the game in Aue. Silas Ostrzinski replaced Tiago Estevao in the BVB goal. Antonios Papadopoulos was in the Bundesliga squad and played in Leverkusen. Hendry Blank missed out through suspension. That meant the coach was without his centre-back pairing from the previous week. Captain Franz Pfanne dropped back from midfield into central defence and played alongside Mario Suver, who was a fresh face in the team. Abdoulaye Kamara sat on the bench this time. In midfield, Ayman Azhil and Franz Roggow took over the positions vacated by Kamara and Pfanne.
The match & analysis: Silas Ostrzinski stopped his team falling behind early on by producing a strong reaction save to thwart Munich's Niklas Lang (4). The visitors continued to set the tone in the minutes that followed. BVB's best chance came from a long ball into the middle which Ole Pohlmann flicked into the path of Julian Hettwer, but the striker touched the ball a little too far in front of him and the visiting goalkeeper thwarted the opportunity (12). Rodney Elongo-Yombo had an even bigger chance when he was played clean through by Pohlmann down the left but the Munich shot-stopper made the save once again (18).
After that, the action increasingly took place in the Dortmund half once again and Ostrzinski was back in the spotlight. The BVB keeper shone with several outstanding saves (23/29). Ole Pohlmann then squared the ball on the edge of the box but Franz Roggow did not connect with it properly and his curling effort clearly missed the Lions' goal (40). Dortmund would have deserved the opening goal following a lovely piece of link-up play right on the edge of the opposition box shortly afterwards: Hettwer passed from the right into the middle towards Elongo-Yombo, who fed Pohlmann. The 1860 goalkeeper made a diving save to turn his shot behind for a corner (42).
With the snowfall growing increasingly heavy after the break, the game initially tailed off somewhat. The next noteworthy moment was a Pohlmann free-kick that struck the side-netting (51). But then it was Pohlmann who ultimately ensured the Black & Yellows were celebrating. After Dortmund won the ball back, Franz Roggow passed the ball from the centre-circle to Pohlmann, who sprinted towards the opposition penalty area, could not be stopped by two opponents and hit an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box to make it 1-0 (63).
The snow had by now gathered on the pitch and turned the playing surface white, which required the use of an orange-coloured ball. BVB all-but sealed the win on the difficult surface when Michael Eberwein dispossessed Jesper Verlaat on the left flank and crossed the ball into the middle, where Elongo-Yombo could not get to it but Julian Hettwer was able to bundle the ball over the line at the back post with a little bit of luck (78). And BVB launched a successful counter-attack only a matter of moments later: a square ball from Hettwer took a deflection and fell to Azhil, who made it 3-0 from 16 metres out (81).
Ole Pohlmann: "At the end, we had the necessary luck on our side. We fought our way into the match well. I always try to perform. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but today it worked out, I'm happy about that. You always need to keep your head up."
Coach Jan Zimmermann: "After a quarter of an hour in which we had problems settling in, we worked our way into the game well and earned the victory over the course of the match. That gives us self-confidence for the remaining three games."
Outlook: The U23s will next be in action away to SSV Ulm on Saturday (14:00 CET).
U23s: Ostrzinski – Tattermusch, Pfanne, Suver, Bueno – Roggow, Pohlmann (Kamara, 90), Azhil (Lütke-Frie, 90) – Hettwer (Bamba, 87), Eberwein, Elongo-Yombo
Goals: 1-0 Pohlmann (63), 2-0 Hettwer (78), 3-0 Azhil (81)