It’s matchday and VfL welcome VfB Stuttgart for their next home game. It could be said that VfB have struggled to get things going so far. After a victory in their opening match they have not been able to score three points again – which could stay this way. Let’s LOOK AHEAD to our game against Stuttgart.
THE HEAD COACH
Pellegrino Matarazzo took over back in December 2019 and succeeded former Head Coach Tim Walter. “We picked him, because we’re convinced we can achieve both our short-term as well as mid and long-term goals with him”, explained VfB chairman Thomas Hitzlsperger, when the new Head Coach was presented. The short-term goal was immediately crossed off the list: The Swabians directly returned to the Bundesliga under the command of the now 43-year-old. In his first ever complete season at the club, the American, with Italian, roots manager managed to stay in the league and stabilised the club in the mid positions in the table. Before joining Stuttgart Matarazzo worked as the assistant manager of Julian Nagelsmann in Hoffenheim, previously he was a youth coach at TSG and 1 FC Nuremberg.
The young and wild, that was how Stuttgart’s team was once before called back in the 2000s, when VfB surprisingly won the German championship and qualified fort he Champions League. Admittedly silverware is surely out of reach this season. Nevertheless, Stuttgart had some amazing performances during the last campaign thanks to key players like Silas, Kalajdzic, Sosa. Stuttgart director of sport Sven Mislintat has meanwhile arranged a great network after his time in London and Dortmund. Numerous young talents were transferred to VfB in the past two years. Mohamed Sankoh (17 years old), Wahid Faghir (18), Enzo Millot (19), Ömer Beyaz (18) – a long list. So it’s hardly surprising that Stuttgart have the lowest average age of all Bundesliga sides. But it needs more than talent. Leading scorer Kalajdzic is still sidelined and has been sadly missed. Moreover VfB are eagerly awaiting Silas to return after suffering a heavy knee injury in March. By the way, two former VfL players today find themselves in Stuttgart’s squad. Atakan Karazor and Chris Führich used to play in VfL’s youth academy.
The clash between VfL Bochum 1848 and VfB Stuttgart delivers one main thing: lots of goals – 221 goals in 74 fixtures so far. 18 matches ended up in a tie, 17 wins for VfL and impressive 39 victories for VfB. The two recent gamers in the 2019/20 2nd Bundesliga season were won by the Swabians – 1-0 and 2-0 losses for VfL. Bochum’s last victory took place in 2014 when Simon Terodde scored a brace in the DFB cup’s first round. The last Bundesliga win against Stuttgart goes back to the 2004/05 season. Unfortunately, the 2-0 victory at the second to last matchday could not save VfL from relegation at that time.
VfL’s clash against VfB ended in goalless draw despite a gutsy performance by the hosts, who had the majority of possession and chances, but could not manage to put the ball in the net.
In front of 15,300 fans, VfL Bochum 1848 were determined to make amends for last week’s heavy defeat by Bayern Munich. Head Coach Thomas Reis made four changes, replacing Kostas Stafylidis, Vasi Lampropoulos, Robert Tesche and Milos Pantovic with Herbert Bockhorn, Erhan Masovic, Eduard Löwen and Christopher Antwi-Adjei. His opposite number Pellegrino Matarazzo, who had labelled the encounter a “crucial match” made four changes, bringing in Al Ghaddioui, Klimowicz and Anton for Ito, Kempf und Massimo.
VfB Stuttgart started on the front foot but it was Antwi-Adjei who created the first chance by tearing down the right flank, but his cutback was scrambled away in the 5th minute. Three minutes later Holtmann slalomed past Mavropanos and Mangala but bent his shot wide of the far post.
VfB Stuttgart had to resort to some very physical defending to keep the Boys in Blue away from their box, which resulted in a first yellow card against Sosa for a foul on Bockhorn after 14 minutes. Four minutes later, Polter and Antwi-Adjei linked up to find Löwen in the left half of the box whose shot was pushed wide by Müller. In the 19th minute, there was another foul on Bockhorn and Klimowicz seemed lucky to escape with a yellow.
After 26 minutes, Rexhbecaj put Holtmann through on the left, whose low cross was first blocked, the smashed against the post by Polter, but it was ruled out for offside. Four minutes later, a free-kick by Löwen was headed on by Polter but the ball was blocked for a corner.
In the 36th minute, the ball hit Mavropanos‘ arm in the box for the fans to claim a penalty but VAR stayed silent – penalties have been awarded for less in the past… Two minutes later, Bella Kotchap was shown a first yellow card for a relatively harmless foul on Klimowicz, while in the 43rd minute, Al Ghaddioui really deserved his yellow for a crashing tackle on Antwi-Adjei.
After a first half dominated by VfL Bochum 1848, Pellegrino Matarazzo tried to change the fabric of the game by sending on Führich and Thommy for Al Ghaddioui and Klimowicz while Thomas Reis stuck with his starting XI.
But it was the hosts again drawing first blood with Antwi-Adjei being put through down the right. Our winger shook off a defender and let fly but Müller pulled off a flying block with Polter missing from the rebound.
In the 55th minute, VfB Stuttgart seemed to have taken a most fortunate lead but Mavropanos had clearly controlled the ball with his arm and VARn ruled the goal out. Two minutes later, it was that man Bockhorn again who tore down the right wing and was pulled down by Endo for another yellow card. In the 60th minute, Holtmann went on another one of his solo runs to find Antwi-Adjei whose shot went narrowly wide of the far post.
VfB Stuttgart were back in the match now with Marmoush shooting from the right of the box but the ball floating over the bar. In the 62nd minute, Sosa drove the ball from a distance but Masovic deflected the ball for a corner. And, just a minute later, another yellow card when Coulibaly pulled down Antwi-Adjei in a counter-attack.
In the 71st minute, Thomas Reis replaced the exhausted Antwi-Adjei with Takuma Asano. A minute later, Losilla attempted a lob almost from the halfway line when he spotted Müller off his line but Toto missed the target.
In the 75th minute, Führich broke away down the left and Masovic had to bring him down and accept a yellow card.
Bochum now with two long-range efforts first through Rexhbecaj, whose shot was fumbled by Müller, and Losilla whose shot went over the bar.
Both teams now brought on fresh legs in Danny Blum and Konstantinos Stafylidis for Holtmann and Losilla for VfL Bochum. Stuttgart substituted Mangala, Mavropanos and Coulibaly with Didavi, Kempf and Massimo with the latter having the last chance of the match but his shot missing the target.
All in all, a laudable performance by our Boys in Blue even if it was only rewarded with one point. Next week, we will travel to Leipzig for the late match on Saturday (18:30 CEST).
Thomas Reis (Head Coach VfL Bochum 1848): "In the first half, our pressing worked very well, and we were brave. We also had one or two opportunities. But we always lacked the final few centimetres, the final determination or the decisive pass. Stuttgart started well, but then had few chances. We also started the second half well and had another great opportunity. After that, unfortunately, we lost the our tempo a bit, the game got wilder and Stuttgart gained control. But I thought the manner was good today, we're just missing at the moment that deflected ball that maybe whirls in or something. It was similar against Hertha, but today we were rewarded with a point. We would have liked to have three, but the performance makes me feel positive. We want to continue that way."
Pellegrino Matarazzo (Head Coach VfB Stuttgart): "Bochum had the better first half. Apart from two chances at the beginning, we didn't dare to score more and looked a bit unsettled. We were lucky not to have fallen behind. After a change, it was a completely different game in the second half. Despite increasing dominance, we didn't create enough in our own possession and the play in the final third wasn't ideal. On the positive side, we played to nil and everyone was ready to defend."
Anthony Losilla (VfL Bochum 1848): "It looked a lot better than last week, also in terms of fighting. Stuttgart had only a few chances, we did well at the back. Unfortunately, we did not take our chances, we had the clearer ones to win. But that's how it is, we can live with the point. We will continue to work. Four points are not so much now, but I am convinced that we will get some more points if we always show this side of us."
Erhan Masovic (VfL Bochum 1848): "It was a strong performance from us, even if we didn't score a goal. During the week we put in a lot of work for this match, you could see that today. The fans made a great atmosphere and I'm happy to play here in front of them. With their support, if we play like this, I think we are strong enough to stay the league."