Despite losing goalkeeping stalwart Manuel Riemann to a hand injury after just four minutes, VfL Bochum 1848 won their away match against promotion hopefuls 1.FC Heidenheim 2-0 with yet another goal by Robert Tesche on 32 minutes and another one by Herbert Bockhorn from a textbook counter-attack after 83 minutes. The Boys in Floodlight Blue stay top of the league on 60 points with four matches still to play.
Just three days after their hard-fought 4-3 win over Hannover 96, VfL head coach Thomas Reis stuck with his winning XI reintroducing Danilo Soares for Erhan Mašović to the match day squad.
After just four minutes, VfL goalie Manuel Riemann had to come off his line to intercept a Föhrenbach cross but was bundled over by Kleindienst who stepped on his hand in the process. Our hitherto ever-present goalkeeper and aggressive leader had to leave the pitch with a suspected broken metacarpal with Patrick Drewes coming on.
After a lengthy injury break, both teams found it hard to find their rhythm and it was not until the 21 minute when Mohr received the ball in a promising position to force an excellent block from Drewes.
Five minutes later, Gamboa made a great intervention against Kleindienst with the ball falling to Losilla who was dispossessed in what looked like a foul for Kühlwetter to let fly, but the ball fortunately went wide of the left post.
VfL Bochum were looking focused in defence but had not really threatened until the 33 minute when the indefatigable Gamboa won a free-kick on the right wing. Robert Zulj’s swerving cross found defensive(!) midfielder Robert Tesche at the far post for another one of his trademark headed goals.
Heidenheim looked stunned and Bochum came close to a second from another Zulj set-piece which Bella Kotchap could not quite reach. All in all, a deserved half-time lead for the visitors after a determined and efficient performance.
Heidenheim replaced Mohr with Pick for the second half which stayed very evenly balanced, but in the 56 minute, Blum, Žulj and Bockhorn linked up brilliantly but Holtmann narrowly missed the cross from Blum. In the 64 minute, it was Holtmann on the wing whose cross did not quite reach Zoller.
With VfL Bochum seemingly in control, Heidenheim kept threatening, for example after 66 minutes when Leipertz shot and his goal-bound shot was deflected into the side netting.
In the 70 minute Soma Novothny replaced Simon Zoller as our target man up front and Blum left the pitch with Danilo Soares taking over at left-back and Herbert Bockhorn moving to the left wing.
Five minutes later, FCH finally seemed certain to score when Kleindienst was clean through in the centre and hit a low shot but was thwarted by Dewes diving to his left quick as a flash.
The goal came down the other end when Cristian Gamboa won the ball on the right and found Holtmann midway in his own half. The winger used his superior speed to carry the ball through midfield before releasing it just on time to the overlapping Zulj on the right who hit an excellent low cross to find Bockhorn at the far post. “Bocki” made no mistake and slotted home for a 2-0 lead.
On 86 minutes, Holtmann had earned himself a rest and was replaced by Bonga, but Heidenheim refused to surrender and had two more chances from a shot by Leipertz and a free-kick by that man Schnatterer but both aimed wide of the target. Despite almost five minutes of added time, VfL Bochum saw the match out safely and added another valuable three points to their tally before our next match with dangerous Darmstadt 98 on Monday at 8:30 pm.
Thomas Reis (manager VfL Bochum 1848): We’re absolutely delighted to have gained the three points here today. We knew, that Heidenheim are one of the strongest teams on home soil. You could see that today. Of course, our game didn’t start well because of Manu’s injury. It’s very sad to see him leaving the pitch as he’s one of our key players. But I can also say straightaway: Patrick Drewes came in very well and showed confidence. That was important for us. It’s not natural that you are able to show a performance like this when you come off the bench. We wanted to be more compact compared to the recent games and we did that. So, we were able to prevent chances by the opposition much better. That was very decisive today. We scored the opener from a set piece and very well defended this lead. We started very well into the second half. We put in a great counterattack and made it 2-0. Heidenheim then tried everything. We’re happy to have kept a clean sheet. Efficiency was the key today. From my point of view, the win is well-deserved.
Patrick Drewes (VfL Bochum 1848): As a substitute goalkeeper, you always have to be prepared for a moment like that. It’s never nice to come off the bench and have to be fully in the game from one second to the other. You have to be right there. Luckily, this worked out very well today – it hadn’t been long since the warm-up and I was still ready to go. That helped.
Herbert Bockhorn (VfL Bochum 1848): It just feels amazing right now. We knew that Heidenheim would be a herd nut to crack. Those are massively important points for us today. We’re more than happy. Now we have four final games ahead of us.
Gerrit Holtmann (VfL Bochum 1848): It was a hard game which was very physical. We came out as winners and that makes us very happy. Patrick did a great job today and even kept the clean sheet for us. This season, you see that whenever someone is out injured, the next one comes in and gives everything for the team. That’s what makes us stand out: the brilliant team spirit.