Borussia Dortmund’s U19 team have a mountain to climb in order to win the third straight Bundesliga title as a group after falling 2-1 to 1860 Munich in the first leg of the semi-finals on Tuesday evening.
A record-breaking 15.117 spectators filled the Westfalenstadion – admission was free.
Hannes Wolf’s team came into the match at full strength, with Felix Passlack and Christian Pulisic rejoining their team-mates from the senior team and striker Jani-Luca Serra returning from an illness.
Dortmund started well, with Pulisic initiating an attacking move that ended with Danish winger Jacob Bruun Larsen narrowly missing the target with an audacious scissor-kick. That, along with a few half chances, would be the only notable chance of the first half for the Black and Yellows, however.
After 15 or so minutes, the visitors got a foot in the game and started controlling Dortmund, without being dangerous in front of goal themselves too often, though. Dominik Reimann had to make only one important stop in the 22nd minute.
The game looked destined to go into half-time without a goal until left-back Till Schumacher received a deflected ball in the box and was pushed to the ground by a 1860 defender in the 45th minute. Midfielder Dzenis Burnic stepped up and slotted the penalty home.
The Lions equalised 10 minutes into the second period through Christoph Daferner, who got on the end of a well-timed ball from Luca Plattenhardt, brother of Hertha BSC left-back Marvin. Dortmund’s defence looked disorganised in that sequence.
The Black and Yellows tried to take control over the game but found it very difficult to find any rhythm, as the visitors cleverly isolated Dortmund’s central defence on the ball.
A wondergoal from Florian Neuhaus decided the game late. Burnic had lost the ball somewhat carelessly at the halfway line and Neuhaus didn’t hesitate for a second, firing away a shot from about 50 metres over the head of surprised goalkeeper Reimann. Arguably one of the finest goals you’ll ever see, especially from a 19-year-old.
Neuhaus thought so himself and celebrated a little too much, climbing a fence for which he saw his second yellow of the day, meaning he’ll miss the return leg on Monday.
Seeing as the away-goals rule doesn’t apply in the Bundesliga playoffs, a Dortmund win by one goal would send the game to a penalty shootout right away.
As for the performances of their most hopeful prospects, Burnic was arguably the best player on the pitch before his costly mistake. Passlack tried a lot but didn’t have any luck, while Pulisic disappointed with a lacklustre showing, too often trying and failing to beat his opponent one-on-one.