On Saturday, we travel to Osnabruck for a spot of VfL on VfL action. Only 105 kilometres away, it hardly seems like an away trip at all compared to recent trips up North and East. Both teams come into this game in need of a win – we have lost our last two games, but Osnabruck have lost their last five. This is our LOOK AHEAD at this must win game:
At the moment, the Bremer Brücke is not a happy place to be. They’ve lost five league games in a row and failed to score in their last four. Their last three games have all been 1-0 losses, to Aue, Furth and Hanover. These came after a 5-0 thrashing in Hamburg. This has come as quite a shock after their strong start to the season, going unbeaten through their first seven games. However, Marco Grote’s side have only won once in their last nine games, against Holstein Kiel, who sit just below us in the table on goal difference.
Marco Grote took over from Daniel Thioune as VfL Osnabrück manager this summer, after Thioune left to take over league leaders Hamburger SV. Grote had been managing SV Werder Bremen’s youth teams, with the VfL job being his first full managerial position. In his career as a right back, he represented Bremerhaven, Oldenburg and HSV.
Sebastian Kerk’s return from a long injury gave Osnabrück a much needed technical asset going forward. He’s got seven goals and five assists so far, making him their top goal scorer. At the beginning of the season, it looked as though that title was sure to go to German-Venezuelan striker Christian Santos, who picked up three goals in the first two Matchdays. He hasn’t scored since, going in and out of the side. There’s even a familiar face in Osnabrück. Uli Bapoh had been out with a long injury, but has recently returned to make three appearances off the bench.
THE BALANCE SHEET
Saturday’s game in Osnabrück is the sixth meeting in the 2. Bundesliga between these two sides. The record is very much in our favour. Three wins for VfL and two draws mean we’re unbeaten against the other VfL. Our second game of the league season was a goalless draw at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion against Osnabrück. Our record at the Bremer Brücke is flawless, winning both of our games there. Last season we won 2-0 thanks to a goal from Wintzheimer and an own goal from Gugganig and in 2011 we won 3-1. Let’s hope to make it three from three.
VfL Bochum 1848 returned to winning ways via a battling win over VFL Osnabrück on a deep and muddy pitch at the Bremer Brücke stadium. Two set-pieces gave our boys – this time in their all-red kit – a 2-0 lead from an own goal forced by Simon Zoller and a powerful header by skipper Anthony Losilla. Despite the hosts throwing everything at VfL Bochum in the second half, they could only manage a consolation goal by Kerk.
After the cup match with Leipzig, VfL head coach Thomas Reis returned to his usual line-up and formation with Riemann, Zoller, Zulj, Leitsch, Tesche and Bockhorn returning to the team which took the initiative from the start. After just 2 minutes, Zulj curled a ball into the path of Zoller with the outside of his foot for the latter to tee the ball up for “Toto” Losilla but our skipper’s effort went over the bar.
Two minutes later, Gamboa released Bockhorn on the break but this time, Losilla couldn’t make contact with the winger’s low cross. After 12 minutes, VfL Bochum had their first shot on goal with Holtmann finding Zoller, but Osnabrück keeper Kühn saved the effort.
On 14 minutes, the hosts got their first of numerous free-kicks and Kerk managed to bend the ball past the Bochum wall but missed the goal, too. Three minutes on, Gugganig received the ball in the Bochum box and had a go but Riemann pulled off a good save.
Finally, on 18 minutes, VfL Bochum broke the deadlock from a corner by Zulj whose cross was met by Zoller by the near post with Adjani’s deflection into the far corner leaving Kühn no chance whatsoever. 1-0 to VfL Bochum!
Six minutes later, Tesche passed to Holtmann who had a go with his weaker right foot to force a great save by Kühn. Holtmann was on fire now with a great shot from outside the box which Kühn could not hold on to but just managed to retrieve ahead of Bockhorn.
Down the other end, Manuel Riemann had to be on his guard to deny Müller who was clean through in the 34 minute. A minute later saw a great solo run out of his own half by Holtmann with our left winger playing a great diagonal ball towards Bockhorn whose shot from close distance was excellently blocked by that man Kühn again. But our second goal came only a minute later, and it was the ensuing corner by Zulj that started it. Toto Losilla ran in from the penalty spot and climbed to the swinging cross on the edge of the six-yard box to head home forcefully – what a goal! 2-0.
After the interval, Osnabrück enjoyed more possession but the first chance once again fell to the visitors with Simon Zoller clean through but the angle becoming too narrow and Kühn blocking the shot in the 56 minute. A third goal would surely have put the match to bed but after 64 minutes, Osnabrück were awarded a free-kick just outside the box. From a position slightly to the left, Kerk curled the ball over the wall to beat Manuel Riemann and reduce the deficit to 2-1.
After 69 minutes, Pantovic came on for the exhausted Bockhorn and after 81 minutes, Ganvoula and Chibsah replaced Holtmann and Zulj. Osnabrück were forcing us back but after 84 minutes, we had the chance to seal the win when Tesche took a shot on the turn from inside the box which was saved by Kühn once again. The hosts resorted to trying to win free-kicks and they had one more chance after 95 (!) minute. From 25 yards, Kerk hit a swerving shot that mercifully went wide of the left post.
The 2-1 win sees VfL Bochum in second place, 2 points behind Hamburg SV and 3 ahead of Kiel who will play at Düsseldorf on Monday. Our next match will be at home versus Eintracht Brunswick on 14 February at 1:30 pm CET.
Thomas Reis (head coachVfL Bochum 1848): Of course, we’re very happy to collect all three points today. In the first half we were actually dominating the match, but we missed to go in front. The secret of success today were two set plays. Still the opponent had one or two opportunities to turn the game around. But we managed to ensure the victory. In the recent past we often fell behind, which didn’t happen today, also the losing streak has come to an end with two defeats in a row. In the second half we lost our style of play. We played too many long balls and made it too easy fort he opposing side to get possession. That was too wild, we have to act more disciplined. Osnabrück kept on attacking until the final whistle. I am relieved that their couage wasn’t rewarded in the end. One could see that Marcos team performs quite well. I know the situation is not that easy when you keep losing the games. But I’m convinced that VfL Osnabrück will score their points and won’t bury their heads in the sand. We’re glad to rack up that win as it wasn’t so easy for us as well after numerous fixtures whitin a few days and travelling a lot.
Marco Grote (head coach VfL Osnabrück): I think we had some trouble to start properly into the game. We were partly acting too passive and were attacking too late, so Bochum had much more possession and recorded the first efforts. In the course of the first half we were able to improve our performance to create own scoring chances. We conceded the goals in a way that’s really annoying. In the second half we changed our formation to apply more pressure and play more aggressively. And we even had some opportunities to level. In the final stage of the match we performed not briskly enough. Altogether, we’ve made a step forward from my point of view., especially concerning mentality and passion. In the second half we were on equal terms, which is necessary to score some points in the upcoming weeks. We’re not happy with the loss, even though it surely wasn’t unseserved. Congrats to VfL Bochum.
Robert Zulj (VfL Bochum 1848): It was actually pretty close in the end. We played a remarkable first half scoring double and further clear-cut chances. In the break we planned to push for the third goal. In the second half we performed anything but well since we accepted the fighting play of our opponen. Thank god we ensured the 2-1 win. We need to a better performance in the second half. The players of the starting line-up are used to one another. It was good to take a little break and were fit for the next match. We finally managed to score three points against – like I think - a strong opponent. In the last season weh ad the same problems against Osnabrück like now. They have a quality squad, but do not manage to win regularly. Other than us this season. We became a real team and we collect the points, and you recognise from our style of play that everyone fights for the other. Set plays are a part of our regular training sessions, thank God things worked out well twice today.
Cristian Gamboa (VfL Bochum 1848): In the first half we performed quite well – both when we were in and when we were not in possession. We managed to score twice. In the second half it wasn’t as good as before, maybe due to the high number of games in the recent weeks. Most importantly, we scored all three points.