Exclusive: Borussia Dortmund U19s manager speaks to SportsByte

Borussia Dortmund U19s manager Mike Tullberg. (Credit: Borussia Dortmund)

Borussia Dortmund U19s felt “a little too comfortable” in their 2-1 UEFA Youth League victory over Newcastle United U19s at the Gateshead International Stadium yesterday, according to manager Mike Tullberg.

Speaking exclusively to SportsByte, Tullberg said his side played very well in the first half and should have wrapped up the game by half-time.

Dortmund – whose starting XI included defender Hendry Blank, who was on the bench for their senior side’s Champions League clash at St James’ Park hours later – led after 12 minutes through Julian Rijkhoff, following fine work from Samuel Bamba down the left wing.

Tullberg’s side should have been out of sight, with Bamba, Kjell-Arik Wätjen, Cole Campbell, Danylo Krevsun and Blank all missing opportunities to increase the advantage.

Tullberg told Sportsbyte: “I think we played very well; we had many chances and we should have closed the game in the first half but didn’t manage to do that.

“We could have scored a few more goals in the first half.”

They were given a scare in first half stoppage time however, with Newcastle having a goal disallowed for a marginal offside.

Newcastle United’s U19s pre-match picture at Gateshead International Stadium. (Credit: Newcastle United)

Dortmund continued their dominance after the break, with a terrific solo goal from Bamba. The striker beat Newcastle right-back Leo Shahar for pace, before cutting inside on his right foot and firing the ball between the legs of Aidan Harris in the home goal.

But Tullberg added: “After 2-0, we felt a little too comfortable and we opened the game a little bit.”

The Magpies were better in the second period and reduced the deficit in the 73rd minute through Sean Neave, after terrific work from Johnny Emerson down the Newcastle right.

On whether he was nervous towards the end of the game as Newcastle pressed for an equaliser, Tullberg joked: “At home I’m nervous with my wife and children, here I was not.

“At 2-1 it’s an open game a little bit, but we kept on fighting and in the end, it was a positive win.”

Bamba, arguably the player of the match, was replaced with just under 15 minutes to go, but Tullberg had his reasons for the substitution.

“He {Bamba} has not been playing that much for the U23s, so he was tired. So to avoid any injuries I took him out.”

Blank was also substituted after 60 minutes, but Tullberg confirmed said that this was the most he could have played ahead of being among the substitutes at St James’ Park as Dortmund’s first team completed a win double on Tyneside.

Tullberg’s side joined AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain on six points in Group F of the UEFA Youth League, while Newcastle remain rooted to the bottom after a third straight defeat in the competition.