Borussia’s U17s have won their hard-fought B-Junior Bundesliga West clash with local rivals RW Essen by a 1-0 scoreline and reduced the gap to Arminia Bielefeld, who are second in the table, to three points.

The East Westphalians lost their table-topping clash with FC Schalke 04, who have already qualified for the Final Round of the German Championship, 3-0. Bielefeld (32 points), BVB (29) – who both have the same goal difference – and Leverkusen (28) are now competing for second spot. Arminia will be away to Borussia Mönchengladbach at the weekend, while Borussia Dortmund will visit relegation-embattled FC Hennef 05 and Leverkusen will face Duisburg.

U17 coach Karsten Gorges was forced to improvise once again against RWE and ring the personnel changes. Alex Niziolek, Luke Rahmann, Raul König and Elias Benkara were joined on the absentee list by Cole Campbell (with the U19s) and Almugera Kabar (thigh injury). Diego Dzonga also missed out. U16 player Oskar Schwarz came on in the 76th minute to replace Kjell Wätjen, who had picked up a knock, and make his Bundesliga debut.

Jakob Zickler scores the goal of the game

The Black & Yellows were the superior side in the first half, with the best chance falling to Kjell Wätjen. The midfielder, who had recovered from his injury, lobbed RWE goalkeeper Romero Gerres, only for an Essen defender to scramble the ball off the line. Further opportunities were spurned by Joshua Burstedde, Charles Herrmann and Jakob Zickler, who deservedly made it 1-0 in the 65th minute when he rounded off a nice move involving Bruno Numbisie and Gökdeniz Gürpüz.

The visitors, who still need a point to be mathematically certain of their survival, then became more courageous and attack-minded. “The lads defended well at the end and deservedly won the match in part thanks to their fighting performance. On a footballing level, I still see a lot of room for improvement,” declared Karsten Gorges.

BVB U17s: Lisewski – Rashidi (Numbisie, 46), Meiser, Adamczyk Plöger – Uka -Gürpüz. Wätjen (Schwarz, 76) – Burstedde, Zickler (Markötter, 88), Herrmann (Kerlen, 89)