Mayhem at the Ruhrstadion! In a wild match VfL Bochum beat old foes Hannover 96 after conceding the equaliser in the 90 minute thanks to a last-gasp winner by man of the match Robert Tesche.
Against bogey team and big spenders Hannover 96, VfL head coach Thomas Reis made three changes from our last match with Robert Zulj and Danny Blum returning from suspension and Herbert Bockhorn defending on the left in the place of Thomas Eisfeld, Milos Pantovic and Danilo Soares.
In a nervous opening spell, the visitors set the tone with a hard tackle by Dominik Kaiser on Bockhorn after just 4 minutes, which earned him the first yellow card of the match.
VfL Bochum enjoyed the majority of possession with some half-chances but the visitors had the first real opportunity on 15 minutes from a free-kick by Muslija who saw his attempt palmed away by Riemann. Three minutes later, Haraguchi was brought down by Bockhorn on the break, which earned the Bochum defender a yellow.
After 20 minutes, a good ball found Hendrik Weydandt, who was initially blocked by Riemann but could still find Haraguchi in a dangerous position with the ball scrambled away by the Bochum defence. The resulting corner found Simon Falette whose effort from close distance was deflected against the crossbar.
Bochum were walking the tightrope here and on 22 minutes, the visitors took the lead when Muroya’s cross was volleyed home by Kaiser from 10 yards leaving Riemann rooted to the spot.
It took VfL just seven minutes to strike back from a swerving corner-kick by Zulj which was met by Tesche who outjumped several defenders to head into the far corner. After 38 minutes, the hosts had turned the match around when Losilla showed excellent skills when he volleyed Riemann’s long kick down the right flank into the path of Gerrit Holtmann who simply left Hult standing before pulling into the middle and slotting the ball into the far corner – 2-1!
VfL Bochum were clearly in the driver’s seat now and came close again one minute before the interval when Holtmann and Zulj interlinked but the former one’s shot was saved by former Bochum boy Michael Esser in the Hannover goal.
Both teams returned unchanged and Hannover 96 were clearly intent on taking charge of the match and it took them less than 60 seconds to come close with Weydandt receiving the ball in a central position but laying it off for Maina instead of shooting only for the latter to have his shot blocked by Bella Kotchap.
Just two minutes later, Holtmann broke through down the other end before cutting the ball back to Blum whose shot lacked accuracy and was saved by Esser. But the goal came on 62 minutes when Zulj’s vertical pass was deflected towards Blum who hit a low cross into the six-yard-box where Simon Zoller got a foot to it and steered it over the line: 3-1.
After 65 Holtmann was replaced by Milos Pantovic with Hannover sending on Marvin Ducksch for Maina, and less than 100 seconds later Weydandt beat the on-rushing Riemann to the ball to lob the ball into the middle where Duksch of all people headed home.
Duksch was terrorising the Bochum defence and had a promising effort blocked by Bella Kotchap after 71 minutes. One minute later, another long ball found Weydandt who was dispossessed by Leitsch at the last moment. The ensuing corner was met by Falette at the near post but the ball was blocked by Riemann.
After 73 minutes Thomas Eisfeld came on for Blum and Josip Elez for Bijol. Three minutes later, it was Duksch again whose goal-bound shot was brilliantly saved by Riemann. VfL Bochum were back in numbers but it seemed only a matter of time for Hanover to score now.
The visitors were throwing everything forward and sent Philipp Ochs and Moussa Doumbouya on in a final throw of the dice with Bochum trying to absorb the pressure by inserting a third centre-back in Saulo Decarli.
In the 90 minute Hannover 96 seemed to have earned their just reward when a long-distance shot from Ochs took to deflections to trickle over the line. Bochum heads went down but just two minutes later a crisp corner-kick by Eisfeld was met by the determined Tesche and our veteran midfielder celebrated his brace with a double somersault.
VfL Bochum survived a final onslaught by the visitors and bagged the three points to consolidate their position at the top of the league table before our away match with promotion chasers Heidenheim on Wednesday at 6:30 pm.
Thomas Reis (manager VfL Bochum 1848): That was not for the faint-hearted. We often had games that were quite exciting but the tension in today’s match was way greater than before. We had set our sights high, and I predicted that Hannover were a very strong opponent. They had their chances after we lost the ball – and we lost too many balls too fast in a row. The reaction after the setback was absolutely exemplary, even though we couldn’t create so many chances from the game today. Set pieces were decisive today. There were always difficult phases in the game, and maybe in the end, the win was a bit lucky. When you are on top, victories like that happen. It was certainly interesting for the spectators, but I don’t need that every week.
Kenan Kocak (manager Hannover 96): This is very bitter for us. We started well, were clearly in control and created a number of decent chances. Then we scored the deserved opener, but in the end it’s only one goal that divides the teams. Then Bochum hit back out of nowhere and we lost control of the match a bit. Bochum are always dangerous when they get the chance to counterattack quickly, and their second goal was way too easy to score. Inexplicably, we are behind at the break. Then we came back for the second half and concede another easy goal. But the lads didn’t give themselves up and fought back. We equalised in the final minute and still came away empty-handed. I can hardly blame my team, except that once again we didn’t make enough of our chances.
Robert Tesche (VfL Bochum 1848): Of course, it’s a great feeling to score the winner. The 3-3 seconds before that was a blow, so it’s even nicer to score the winning goal. We played well for the first ten minutes and then let up. Hannover had their chances and deservedly gained the lead. After the 1-1, we took control, were better and took the lead. We also played well in the second half and even widened the lead. Hannover then changed their team tactics, and we had our problems with that. We practically begged for the equalizer. You also need a bit of luck to score the 4-3 then. We still have a few games ahead and will give everything to get the points we need.
Danny Blum (VfL Bochum 1848): When you’ve served such a long suspension, you remember how nice it is to be on the pitch again. It was a great feeling to be able to help the team again. It felt like a constant up and down with decent chances every minute. I’ve seen a lot over the last year here at stadium but today, it certainly was another highlight that can be added to the list. Especially, as we managed to hit back and win the game in the end. Of course, from the sideline, you were annoyed to concede such a late equalizer, but this year you can see that everything is possible, if you believe in it. Then you score the winning goal in injury time, which is almost impossible.
Gerrit Holtmann (VfL Bochum 1848): When you win a game like that in the end, where you equalise seconds before the final whistle and actually expect the points to be shared… of course, we are even happier to have taken the next big step towards promotion. We always train the set pieces a bit harder one or two days before the match and you could see that today, I think. We also plan to swap the sides every now and then. We were 3-1 ahead, so we must not give it away so easily. As I said, in the end we can be very happy to have won the game somehow.