On Monday evening, we head to Düsseldorf for another big game in our 2. Bundesliga season. It’s a short trip which will hopefully bring big rewards. As ever, it won’t be easy in Düsseldorf. They have the joint best home form of any side this season. This is our LOOK AHEAD at that game:
Hope, regression, hope, regression. After a poor start and a great run afterwards, the side recently relegated from the Bundesliga are just six points away from going straight back into it. They come into this game in mixed form, as draws against SV Sandhausen and Jahn Regensburg bookend wins over Hannover and Nürnberg and a loss to Heidenheim in their last five. At the MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA they’ve collected 27 points from twelve games, one more than we have at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion. Their only loss there came in February to Holstein Kiel. Of course, we can’t forget the reverse fixture. A 5-0 win in Bochum is our biggest win of the season after an early Fortuna red card. However, we can’t get hung up on previous results. After Hamburg and Fürth both won this weekend within the quartet currently at the top, we need to make sure we keep up with a win. Overall, we’ve faced Fortuna 60 times in all competitions. We’ve won 22 of these, they’ve won 16. We also have the edge in the 2. Bundesliga, with five wins for us and four for them.
Uwe Rösler is a fighter. Nothing shows that more than being a cancer survivor. The former striker also knows how to apply this on the pitch, which is one of the reasons he’s in the Manchester City Hall of Fame. Off the pitch, he’s forged a journeyman managerial career in England, Norway and Sweden. He joined Fortuna in January 2020 after long-serving coach Friedhelm Funkel was given the boot. He couldn’t avoid the drop from the Bundesliga and inevitably lost some key players from their top division squad. However, Rouwen Hennings, Kenan Karaman, Adam Bodzek and Florian Kastenmeier have stuck around and are now key parts of their 2. Bundesliga side.
What a Monday evening – VfL Bochum 1848 win their away match with Fortuna Düsseldorf 3-0! Despite the hosts creating several good scoring opportunities, VfL were 2-0 up at the interval thanks to brilliant goals by Zoller and Holtmann with substitute Soma Novothny sealing the win three minutes from the end.
In the top clash of the weekend, VfL Bochum had to travel and play Fortuna Düsseldorf, freshly relegated from the top flight and still seen as one of the favourites to go up at the end of the season. Bochum head coach Thomas Reis had striker Simon Zoller back from injury and Cristian Gamboa from suspension in his starting XI where they were joined by Herbert Bockhorn standing in for the suspended Danny Blum.
After not even five minutes, VfL goalie Manuel Riemann was illegally challenged in the air and went over on his ankle. Despite needing treatment, he was able to continue and was called into action just a couple of minutes later to push out a dangerous header by Kownacki. But he would have been beaten by Peterson’s deflected effort which fortunately rebounded off the crossbar in the 8 minute.
Instead, it was the visitors’ turn to celebrate when Danilo Soares hit a delicate ball over the Düsseldorf defence right into the path of Holtmann who simply outpaced his defender and curled a cross into the centre where Zoller made no mistake and volleyed home after 12 minutes. Just 60 seconds later the excellent Holtmann drilled a shot over the crossbar.
Düsseldorf kept pushing forward and came close again when the ball found its way to the usually lethal Hennings who saw his goal bound shot blocked at the last second on 18 minutes. VfL Bochum were always looking capable of breaking away the hosts had them on the back foot and saw Hennings’ header fly over the bar after 30 minutes. Four minutes later Peterson seemed certain to score but Riemann was off his line and blocked the shot before holding on to the ball.
The goal came down the other end on 35 minutes initiated by a great tackle from Bella Kotchap. Zulj controlled the ball in the air and played a one-two with Zoller before releasing Holtmann through the middle where our lightweight winger beat three defenders to the ball before going down under an unfair tackle but still managed to steer the ball past the goalkeeper – 2-0!
With Düsseldorf winning two thirds of the direct duels but Bochum hitting them with speed and taking their chances mercilessly, the first half ended in a two-goal lead to the visitors.
Both teams returned unchanged and Fortuna took the initiative straightaway forcing a couple of corners which VfL Bochum struggled to clear. Nevertheless, after 52 minutes it could easily have been three for the visitors when that man Holtmann cut through their defence but had his low shot blocked by Kastenmaier’s foot.
In the same minute, Hennings received the ball in a promising position but could not keep his shot down – that was close! On 54 minutes, Bochum thought they had the game in the bag when Bell Kotchap poached a goal from clos distance but was offside.
The relentless exchange continued when Pantovic, on for Bockhorn since the 59 minute, needed less than a minute to score but was offside, too. Bochum continued to torment Fortuna’s defence with deep passes and Holtmann teed up for Zoller who miscued his shot after 61 minutes.
Tesche received a knock in a foul and had to make place for Eisfeld after 68 minutes but the visitors seemed to be gaining the upper hand when Holtmann hit a long cross from the right to find Zulj but the latter had his effort saved by Kastenmaier.
Düsseldorf kept trying and came close again through Koutris in the box whose shot went wide of the post. After 79 minutes Soares was judged to have fouled Klaus and shown a yellow card in a very harsh decision which will see him suspended for our next match against direct rivals Kiel.
After 82 minutes, Zoller, not yet back to full match fitness was replaced by Soma Novothny and it took the new player just five minutes to make an impression when Eisfeld shook off a defender and let fly from outside the box with his weaker left foot. Kastenmaier could not cling on to the ball and Novothny pounced on the rebound.
A great away win takes VfL Bochum back to the top of the table before the international break and another top-of-the-table clash with Holstein Kiel who lie in fourth place 5 points adrift but with two games in hand. This potentially crucial match is scheduled for Easter Saturday, 3 April, 1:00 p.m., at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion.
Thomas Reis (manager VfL Bochum 1848): I think everyone who witnessed the game today saw that effectiveness won. We didn’t start very well and allowed our opponents two or three big chances, which they fortunately weren’t taken advantage of. We didn’t get into the tackles properly and lost the ball way too often. Just in that phase we created a splendid play and did what we set out to do. It was a very neatly created goal. We then scored the second goal in a phase in which Düsseldorf had the better chances. That was very effective. In the end, we won 3-0 – I say it’s too high, but we’re happy to take the win. We are pleased to spend the international break as league leaders.
Uwe Rösler (manager Fortuna Düsseldorf): It was a strong away performance by Bochum against a strong Fortuna squad. We dominated the game in the opening stages, but we lacked efficiency today. It was the same already in the match against Sandhausen in which we had taken 16 shots from within the box, today we had 14 shots. We have to take the lead and score the opener against an opponent like this. The team tried a lot and ha d quite a few good ideas and situations. We are massively disappointed – especially with the first half I was very satisfied. That you go into the break being 2-0 down is hard to accept.
Manuel Riemann (VfL Bochum 1848): I think that perhaps the cleverer and luckier team won today – not necessarily the one with the better scoring chances. But at the end of the day, we created our chances and converted them – Düsseldorf on the other hand, did not. We had a bit of luck on our side today. The two minutes after I twisted my ankle were brutally painful. I wasn’t able to play any good balls today because I was in so much pain. When I was shooting, the pain was incredibly strong. I just wanted to finish this game. My grandad died yesterday evening and I played for him today. He made me the footballer I am today. That’s why I wanted to go through with it. Maybe because of him, we had the luck on our side today.
Gerrit Holtmann (VfL Bochum 1848): I think it was a deserved win. Düsseldorf played very well in the first ten minutes and created a number of decent chances so the game could have gone a very different way then. But in the end, we earned a deserved win. Our match plan was to break through on the flanks and play deep passes. We practiced that all week in training because we knew that Fortuna may have their weak spot there. I think that we are a strong team. In the run-up to the 2-0, Robert played a splendid pass and I only had to start running in the free space. I actually put the ball a bit too far in front of me, but then I got it well around the goalkeeper. Those were important points again, especially after we let something slip against HSV last week. We wanted to turn things around again, and that worked. Now we want to keep going.
Simon Zoller (VfL Bochum 1848): Luck was definitely on our side today. We wouldn’t have any to right for complaining if we had been behind after ten minutes. Manuel Riemann made a number of great saves. We were a bit too nervous. That settled down when we took the lead and we played quite well and controlled the match for long phases. We are very clinical in front of goal. We’re very happy to have gained the three points and consequently widened the gap between Düsseldorf and ourselves – that definitely feels quite good. It’s clear that we’ve worked hard for all of this. We invest a lot, and our game is very run intensive. But we reward ourselves in the end. As long as we collect our points, we are rightly up there. For me personally, it was nice to be back on the pitch and even score a goal. It’s now two weeks until the next game, we’ve earned a little break. Now we’ll all have a rest and then concentrate fully again and go into the last eight games with full power.