Four goals, late drama and a red card. VfL Bochum 1848 ended their 2018-19 campaign in dramatic fashion, however they had to settle for a point after a late comeback from promotion-hunting 1. FC Union Berlin. Goals from Anthony Losilla and a second half penalty from Silvère Ganvoula put VfL in the driving seat, however late goals from Prömel and Mees saw the game end in level.
Injuries sustained in last week’s goalless draw away at the Millerntor forced manager Robin Dutt to make changes to his starting eleven. Chung-Yong Lee and Dominik Baumgartner both failed to recover from their respective injures, with Stefano Celozzi and Tom Weilandt replacing the duo. Jannik Bandowski also missed out due to bruised ribs, with youngster Milos Pantovic taking his place. A pre-match injury also forced Sidney Sam to withdraw from the starting eleven, with Danilo Soares, who was returning from injury, replacing him.
Many travelled form the capital in anticipation for arguably the biggest game of the season for Die Eisernen. An away victory for Union, combined with Paderborn failing to win in Dresden would mean direct promotion to the Bundesliga. Paderborn lost, however Union missed out on a golden opportunity for automatic promotion.
Robin Dutt’s side got off to a flying start, with Milos Pantovic going close in the opening five minutes. VfL’s top goalscorer Lukas Hinterseer managed to flick on the ball, however Pantovic was unable to cutely dink the ball over Gikiewicz in the Berlin goal. The 22-year-old was at it again two minutes later, this time instead assisting. He did well to beat two defenders and float in a dangerous cross from the right wing, although Ganvoula was unable to direct his header goalwards.
After dominating the opening phases of the game VfL took a deserved lead in the 24th minute. Danilo Soares played the ball through to Anthony Losilla, who took two touches before calmly slotted home past Gikiewicz, a brilliant finish from the Frenchman.
The visitors responded well to the goal and proved why they were battling for automatic promotion. In the 35th minute Manu Riemann had to be alert to somehow save Sebastian Anderson with his knees. It wasn’t the most confidential save from Riemann, however an important and difficult one considering how wet the conditions were. Two minutes later the 30-year-old was called upon again. This time he had to bravely smother a cross from Reichel, another important stop.
With Union playing for automatic promotion and VfL for pride, stakes were high and this bubbled over in the 40th minute. Silvère Ganvoula picked up a yellow card for a late challenge, however argued with the referee after he thought that he’d missed a previous infringement. The referee from Hannover waved away his protests and duly wrote his name in the book, slightly harsh.
Playing in front of our fans for the final time this season, Robin Dutt’s side flew out of the traps at the beginning of the second half. Two minutes after the restart Bochum had a golden opportunity to double their lead, a penalty. Lukas Hinterseer dispossessed Grischa Prömel in his penalty area, before being blatantly hauled down. Referee Harm Osmers did not hesitate as he pointed to the spot to the Ostkurve’s delight. Prömel was booked, Ganvoula stepped up. The 22-year-old made no mistake from the spot as he confidently fired the ball under a despairing Rafal Gikiewicz in the Union Berlin goal.
Dutt’s side were playing with a newfound confidence and linking up very nicely. Lukas Hinterseer and Anthony Losilla combined well as VfL channelled their inner Barcelona producing some a brilliant move which Cruyff would have been proud of. Milos Pantovic fired just over after Losilla set him up, a lovely move which just lacked the finishing touch.
VfL made a string of substitutions after this, Milos Pantovic and Danilo Soares both made way, with Tesche and Kokovas replacing them. Soares put in a brilliant performance having returned to injury and replaced Sidney Sam in the starting eleven after a pre-match injury.
With twenty minutes to go, Bochum were down to ten men after the linesman had adjudged Ganvoula to have elbowed a Union player whilst shielding the ball out of play. Replays show that perhaps, there was minimal contact, however he left the pitch to a standing ovation after another impressive performance.
Buoyed by their impressive support, and with VfL reduced to ten men, Union Berlin piled on the pressure and got one back with eight minutes to play. Grischa Prömel hit an absolute beauty from just outside the penalty area which flew into the top corner, a brilliant goal leaving Manu Riemann with no chance.
Two minutes later the guests were on level terms. Reichel’s free kick was bravely headed away by Patrik Fabian, however VfL failed to defend against the second ball. This fell to substitute Joshua Mees who managed to find a way past Manu Riemann. Game on.
This sparked a frantic final five minutes with both sides throwing everything forward hoping to get the vital winner. Robert Tesche went close with his header just looping over the bar, with Riemann then saving an acrobatic Abdullahi volley thirty seconds later. A frantic ending to a brilliant game which brought the curtain down on our 2018-19 season. Many thanks for your support as always, we’ll see you soon!
Robin Dutt (Head Coach VfL Bochum 1848): First of all, congratulations to SC Paderborn on their promotion to the Bundesliga. I think they know who they should thank for this. Also congratulations to my coaching colleagues and the 1. FC Union Berlin players for a great game and a good season. I wish them all the best for their play-off. Before the match today we listed the team's results from yesterday's Bundesliga - 5:1, 5:1, 8:1. As a coach, you have the feeling that some are already on vacation or are only playing half-heartedly. We wanted to make a game of it today. Even though we gave away a two goal lead today, I have to say that this is one of the games that make me particularly proud. We tried from the first minute to put the opponents under pressure. We took a big step forward in the game today. We have also shown a class mentality - including the players who made their last appearance for VfL today. All of them have been working their way up to the last second. In the second half, of course, Berlin turned up the heat. The way we fought now, despite the current injury situation, makes us want to start the new season.
Urs Fischer (Head Coach 1. FC Union Berlin): It’s difficult to find the right words at the moment. There’s a big emptiness in me right now, because I think the way the game went we could’ve made more of it. I think we made it very easy for our opponents until going 2-0 down, at least for the two of the goals scored. We didn't defend consistently enough in the first half. In the end, the second goal was almost a gift. So you're trailing 2-0 in a game that was equally balanced from my point of view. We would’ve had the chance to equalise earlier, but football is not always kind. In the end, the team came back well and dragged itself back into the game - and was very close to 3:2. But in the end, it just wasn’t enough.
Manuel Riemann (VfL Bochum 1848): If we could’ve held on to the three points here, it would have been a really great end to the season. But I have to say that we showed a good fighting performance. It was a gruelling game in the rain.
Stefano Celozzi (VfL Bochum 1848): Of course, we would’ve liked to have won. You could feel from the very first minute that the boys really wanted it. We wanted to win the game. It would have been terrible if Union had scored late on here and therefore gone up automatically. That would have gone down in history and would not be positive for us. We must now review the season, because we are already annoyed. All in all, we simply lacked consistency. We had some good games, but also some catastrophically bad ones and so we had little to play for. In the end it's mid-table obscurity and that's not good enough. We had hoped for more. But today we said goodbye with a good game.
Lukas Hinterseer (VfL Bochum 1848): It was great again to play in front of a sold-out stadium. The first half was great and fun. The red card was a kick in the teeth, after that it became hard, it really reignited Union. At the end of the season you’re also not at full fitness, we were lucky shortly before the end. But it was a nice ending, even if I would have liked to win again. It was nice anyway. I was the one who was fouled for the penalty, so I take it because of superstition. And I could make Silvère happy, he’s done really well. That's why everything is good. I didn't know how the fans would react, but it was great. Most of it was positive. Everyone saw that I put everything into it again today, it was rewarded. It’s been a very intense two years here, more than turbulent in the first year. But I’ve developed really well under Robin Dutt. I scored 14 and 18 goals, so everything good.