Borussia Dortmund have missed out on a Bundesliga clean sweep at youth level after their U17s lost the Final of the German Championship 3-2 (2-1) to 1. FC Cologne in front of 10,000 spectators at a sold-out Stadion Rote Erde on Sunday.
Could the fact that BVB struggled to get a foothold in the game and found themselves 2-0 down after 22 minutes have been down to the occasion or the burden of being favourites? Whatever it was, the Black & Yellows found themselves in the entirely unfamiliar situation of having to come from behind. An early Jacob Jansen brace had put the Billy Goats ahead, with the luckless Dortmund shot-stopper Leon Klußmann partly at fault for both goals.
For the first goal in the 15th minute, Jansen ghosted past Tim Böhmer before scoring with a weak effort that Klußmann should have stopped. The second goal followed seven minutes later, a long ball from Lanser leading to a defensive mix-up between the goalkeeper and centre-back Albin Thaqi. For the first time this term, the BVB youngsters – spearheaded by captains Rilind Hetemi and Youssoufa Moukoko – found themselves chasing a two-goal deficit. And it showed, as they struggled to find a way back into the game.
Pakia denied by woodwork, Hetemi misses penalty
There was an early warning sign of what was to come for BVB in the fourth minute when Sponsel dispossessed Böhmer in the middle of the park and Jansen, having spotted Klußmann off his line, attempted a long-range effort that only narrowly missed the target. Cologne looked carefree, while Dortmund appeared tense and displayed little of the free-flowing link-up play that has become their trademark. That said, they did have the chance to go 1-0 up through Ware Pakia, who received a wonderful ball from Dennis Lütke Frie but ultimately struck the woodwork. Cologne went down the other end and opened the scoring almost immediately.
The match was almost half an hour old before Dortmund next posed an attacking threat: Ansgar Knauff set up Youssoufa Moukoko, who forced Daniel Adamczyk into making a strong save with an outstretched leg. The star striker had more success five minutes later, though. Böhmer and Pakia produced some brilliant link-up play before feeding Moukoko, who hit an unstoppable effort past the excellent Adamczyk. But the goalkeeper was back to his excellent best only 60 seconds later, making a flying save from a Rilind Hetemi penalty – awarded following a foul on Moukoko by Örneck – and denying the Black & Yellows the chance to claim a quick leveller before the half-time interval.
Sponsel with goal-line clearance
Cologne continued to pose a major threat going forward. The Black & Yellows allowed their pacy strikers too much space and didn't press them quickly enough, with almost every attack ending in a chance for the Billy Goats. Klußmann made a spectacular save to deny Wirtz, but Dortmund went straight down the other end and levelled the scores at 2-2 thanks to a brilliant individual goal from Ansgar Knauff. The visitors remained unperturbed, however, and re-established their lead through Meiko Sponsel in the 47th minute.
It was end to end after that, with Klußmann showing good reactions to make saves from Wirtz and Obuz. At the other end, Sponsel made a goal-line clearance in the 59th minute to stop BVB levelling through Moukoko, who had found himself in a promising position. Böhmer hit the post in the 64th minute, while Cologne keeper Adamczyk repeatedly kept his side's lead intact.
In the end, the Black & Yellows didn't quite have what was required to fight their way back into this exciting final once again. Cologne managed the game well and defended their lead intelligently to see out what was ultimately not an undeserved victory.
BVB: Klußmann – Semic, Thaqi, Böhmer, Kuffour (Meier, 68) – Amedick, Lütke Frie– Knauff, Hetemi (Fehler, 51), Pakia (El-Zein, 76) – Moukoko