Newcastle’s U19 team showed resolve after a 2-1 loss to Dortmund U19 in the UEFA Youth League.
Having narrowly lost 1-0 to PSG in the previous fixture, the young Magpies were looking to build on that performance against a Dortmund team without star forward Paris Brunner who was suspended by the club last week.
Newcastle looked to exploit diagonal passes with full backs pushing on wide and high. Building up with three centre backs in possession, Newcastle’s early game plan was to hit Johnny Emerson with diagonal passes.
However, the back three ironically forced Newcastle centrally in phases of the first half because of the proficiency of Dortmund’s pressing especially through Cole Campbell and Samuel Bamba in the wide positions.
Dortmund’s shape was fluid with Campbell, Kjell-Arik Watjen, Danylo Krevsun and Bamba all making late runs into the box, aided by the technical ability of Rafael Lubach and Julian Rijkhoff.
The comfort of Dortmund on the ball at back was the major factor of Newcastle playing more directly. While Dortmund played out with a single pivot, Newcastle bypassed the midfield with Jamie Miley’s only real involvements coming from set pieces.
When Newcastle committed numbers forward, they looked vulnerable to the speed and precision of Dortmund’s passing. That is how the first goal of the game was born – a counter where Dortmund exploited space left when full backs pushed higher in possession.
Newcastle’s long balls would become more effective later into the first half. Johnny Emerson was able to profit from a well-timed diagonal on a few occasions.
Miley’s set pieces were one strength of Newcastle’s performance. His technique allowed numbers in the box to attack the ball. Newcastle’s best chances came from knock downs and physical battles in the area. Parkinson had thought he scored an equaliser with a header from such a chance, but the flag had been raised.
Bamba’s footwork was the source of the second Dortmund goal, driving and turning past Leo Shahar to slot past Aidan Harris. Dortmund worked the channels to their advantage again, quickly getting the ball out after counter-pressing the young Geordies.
As the game progressed, tired legs became an issue for both sides. This enabled chances to come down the wings as full backs tucked in when the ball was on the opposite flank. Both teams were susceptible to leaving space on the far side in defence.
Newcastle continued to exploit these spaces in the channels. Emerson and Travis Hernes linked up well on the right-hand side to create very decent chances for the hosts.
It was this space that was attacked by Emerson, driving past his man into the right side of the box and squaring for Sean Neave to calmly tuck away. Tactically, it was the goal Newcastle were looking to score all game, with similar movement clearly visible from the outset of the match.
When Miley was withdrawn through injury, the set pieces did not cease to cause the visitors problems. Dortmund set their defence up with a high line when defending deep freekicks, which was dangerous for the defending team when legs began to tire in the latter quarter of the game.
It was a game that Dortmund should have put away with several good chances to attack Newcastle’s offside trap. Ultimately the game would provide a scare for a Dortmund team who top their U19 national league, as Newcastle grew into a game aided by their use of long balls into wide areas.
Newcastle were well-drilled and resolute in the face of a glut of chances for the German team and although they could well have lost by more, they also could have stolen a draw.
The young Magpies remain bottom of their group but can take confidence from their second half tactical performance.
Dortmund leapfrog PSG into second place at the halfway point of the group stage.