Borussia’s U19s need one more point from their final Bundesliga match away to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday in order to qualify for the Final Round of the German Championship as western champions or runners-up. “We’re not playing for a draw; rather, we want to win this match,” assured head coach Mike Tullberg prior to the clash at the Ulrich-Haberland-Stadion (kick-off 13:00 CET, live at DFB-TV).
The A-Junior Bundesliga West is set for a heart-stopping final day. BVB (34 points) will head into the last matchday in the best position, ahead of 1. FC Cologne (32) and FC Schalke 04 (31). Cologne will be away to already relegated VfB Hilden, with Schalke visiting an ambitious Borussia Mönchengladbach in fourth place. “We have everything in our hands and are not looking elsewhere,” declared Mike Tullberg, who is not yet turning his thoughts to the UEFA Youth League quarter-final against Hajduk Split on Tuesday (18:30 CET at Stadion Niederrhein in Oberhausen) and clarified: “The West German Championship would mean a lot to me and the boys because it’s the reward for a full year’s work.”
Leverkusen have not played the major role they were expected to in the run-up to the season. Bayer occupy eighth spot in the standings with 12 points and have won five of their 14 matches to date. “Leverkusen can play with complete freedom, that doesn’t make the task any easier. It must be visible that we want it more than the opposition,” explained Mike Tullberg. It was this resolute attitude that saw Borussia Mönchengladbach swept aside by a 6-1 scoreline a week ago.
There are a lot of question marks on the personnel front. “Some players are ill, I don’t yet know who we have at our disposal. We need to make the best of it again – but we’ve always managed to do that this season,” said Tullberg. In light of the expected personnel shortage, he is hoping to have Nnamdi Collins available again; the captain has recently been in action with the U23s.
The Dortmund youngsters could qualify for the Final Round of the German Championship for the sixth season in succession in Leverkusen. As western champions, they would face Nord-Nordost-Liga champions Hertha BSC on 9 and 16 April; as western runners-up, they would take on the Süd/Südwest pool winners (presumably Mainz 05 with ex-Borussia coach Benjamin Hoffmann). The western representatives will be at home in the return legs.
U17s against Leverkusen on final day
Following their surprise 3-2 defeat away to FC Hennef, Borussia’s 17s will head into their final home game against Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Saturday at 13:00 CET) with only a minimal chance of finishing second in the B-Junior Bundesliga West. Arminia Bielefeld and Borussia Mönchengladbach would need to lose at home to Preußen Münster and away to western champions Schalke 04 respectively, while Karsten Gorges’ team would need to beat third-placed Bayer Leverkusen. “We want to round off the season with a successful result – and then we’ll see what happens,” said Karsten Gorges. (wiwi)