Borussia’s Junior Bundesliga teams will continue their domestic campaigns this weekend with a home double-header. The U19s will play host to Viktoria Cologne on Saturday (11:00 CET, NLZ Brackel), with the U17s then set to welcome German champions and current league leaders Schalke 04 for a table-topping derby on Sunday (11:00 CET).
“Cologne are an unpleasant opponent. They play with great commitment and celebrate every challenge they win,” said U19 head coach Mike Tullberg of Viktoria Cologne, who occupy seventh spot in the table with nine points from six matches and already proved themselves to be a huge nuisance to Borussia in last season’s 0-0 draw. More hard work lies ahead of captain Nnamdi Collins & Co., who came from behind in style to draw 3-3 with Manchester City in the UEFA Youth League in midweek.
“It is brutal to have to play every three days. But so far, we’ve dealt with it really well. We’re the only German representative in the UEFA Youth League to occupy a high position in the Bundesliga too,” said Tullberg in praise of his team. The coach has largely succeeded in keeping the concentration levels high in both competitions. That’s the way it needs to stay, as the Black & Yellows are determined to go into their crunch Youth League clash with FC Copenhagen next Wednesday as Bundesliga leaders.
Tullberg is temporarily without Filippo Mane, who suffered a broken nose in the match against Manchester City. Jonah Husseck will also miss out. Tom Rothe is no longer eligible to play for the U19s after his cameo appearances for the first team. Following his strong display against Manchester City, Tyler Meiser will return to the U17s as they prepare for the derby against Schalke 04.
Karsten Gorges optimistic: “We’re looking forward”
U17 coach Karsten Gorges is in a confident and optimistic mood ahead of the clash with the German champions. “We’re looking forward to this nice and important game. Both teams deserve to be right at the top.” With eight rounds played, Schalke top the pile with a flawless record of 24 points and have only conceded one goal to date. BVB still sit second with 19 points after their unlucky 3-2 defeat away to Arminia Bielefeld but could yet be overtaken by the East Westphalians (17 points after seven games).
The personnel situation has now improved considerably. Kjell Wätjen, Cole Campbell and Raul König are available again, as is goalkeeper Robin Lisewski. Almugera Kabar is back from international duty with the U17 national team. Long-term injury absentees Elias Benkara, Luke Rahmann and Charles Herrmann are joined in the treatment room by Alex Niziolek and Jakob Zickler.
“We have everything in our hands and will go into this game with great self-belief,” assured Karsten Gorges ahead of what will be a defining derby for BVB in terms of qualifying for the German Championship. (wiwi)