U23s away to league leaders Dynamo Dresden

U23s away to league leaders Dynamo Dresden
U23s away to league leaders Dynamo Dresden

Coach Jan Zimmermann's U23 team are set for a trip to new league leaders Dynamo Dresden. Kick-off in this third-tier match at Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion is at 19:30 CET on Sunday.

Dynamo have lost only two games at home, including their most recent home outing against SV Sandhausen. The Black & Yellows from Saxony pressured the opposition goal for 90 minutes but in the end it was the visitors who were celebrating. It was a similar story in the first home defeat at the end of November against SSV Jahn Regensburg. Dynamo have won their other eight home games, scoring 16 goals and conceding only seven. BVB promotion hero Stefan Drljaca, who left the Dortmund U23s to join Dresden in 2022, has made a contribution to that strong defence. However, the goalkeeper will miss the reunion with his former team-mates due to a muscle injury. The Saxony side have another former U23 player in their team in defender Lars Bünning, who has made 19 appearances this term.

"Dresden are by some distance the strongest opponent in the 3. Liga. In terms of squad and infrastructure, Dynamo are a second-division club to me. With the stadium and the fans, a real challenge awaits us in Dresden. Dynamo have clear patterns of play for which we must find defensive solutions," said coach Zimmermann, who was however in optimistic mood prior to the game. "My lads will fight against all the odds, they will be highly focused tactically and in every tackle." The top scorer for the home team is Stefan Kutschke, who has netted nine times to date.

On the personnel front for BVB, Ayman Azhil will miss out after accumulating five bookings. But Franz Pfanne, a Dresden native who came through the Dynamo ranks, is back from suspension and is expecting a powerful opponent. "In my view, Dresden are the best footballing team in the league. They have extreme quality in the centre, press aggressively and possess great power." Nonetheless, Pfanne is looking forward to the game in his home city: "Full house, floodlights – there won't be many nicer games this season! Plus my family will be at the stadium in numbers on Sunday." The captain is currently only 13 third-division appearances away from drawing level with BVB linchpin Marc Hornschuh, who made 101 appearances during his time with the club.

Historically, BVB have not had the upper hand in their clashes with Dynamo. The last and to date only victory in a third-division match dates back to August 2009. Nonetheless, the U23s will travel to Dresden with the wind in their sails. The Black & Yellows, who have to play in red on Sunday, are unbeaten in five matches, have conceded only two goals in the process and have frustrated the league's top teams one or two times.

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