7. Matchday

RB Leipzig
3: 0
VfL Bochum 1848VfL Bochum 1848

Sa,  02.10.202118:30 Bundesliga

Favourite adversaries? That doesn’t apply to our upcoming opponent at all. On Thursday the lads set off east, to Saxony’s most populous city, Leipzig. There have been five clashes so far – no points at all for VfL. But maybe, someday…Rather fittingly, Leipzig are currently not going through their best patch since their promotion five years ago. Here’s the LOOK AHEAD #RBLBOC:

THE TEAM

Leipzig put their faith in young talent, some of them have already left their mark and therefore carry a high price tag. This summer e.g., Ilaix Moriba (18 years old, Barcelona), Josko Gvardiol (19 years old, Dinamo Zagreb) or Mohamed Simakan (21 years old, Racing Straßburg) all joined the club. The transfer fees are said to be tens of millions each. But the most expensive new signing was forward André Silva, who joined from Eintracht Frankfurt. Moreover, Angelino (Manchester City) and Benjamin Henrichs (AS Monaco) all joined the club on loan. Of course, Leipzig obviously have completely different financial resources than VfL. Still, the amounts balance each other in terms of financial fair play. After the transfers of Dayot Upamecano and Marcel Sabitzer (both to Bayern Munich) and Ibrahima Konaté (Liverpool,) Leipzig balanced their books. The squad looks quite different compared to the previous season when Leipzig finished as runners-up.

THE HEAD COACH

Talking about changes: Not only the squad is quite different, but there were also crucial changes off the pitch. Julian Nagelsmann left the club after only two years and signed for Bayern Munich, possibly earlier than expected. Jesse Marsch, who knows the club and franchise system inside out, took over as new Head Coach. The American previously had coached New York Red Bulls for three years, then becoming assistant coach in Leipzig for one year before he was in charge of RB Salzburg for two seasons, now he’s back in Germany. As a professional player March played several years in the Major League Soccer (MLS) and won three championships with Chicago Fire – subsequent club of German national Basti Schweinsteiger – and D.C. United. After initially working for some American clubs, March moved to Europe in summer 2018. It’s pretty tough as a successor of Julian Nagelsmann, who has become one of Europe’s most famous Head Coaches despite his young age, but that was clear from the outset. This season Leipzig are yet to reach top gear. They have suffered three defeats in six league fixtures, followed by two losses in the Champions League. This record is still in need of improvement. But not before international break, please…?

THE RECORD

Like mentioned above, Leipzig are definitely not our favourite opponents. There have been five matches up to now, four in the 2. Bundesliga, one in the DFB-Pokal – with all games won by the Saxons. Looking closer at the 2. Bundesliga results, the scores were 0-2, 1-2, 0-1 and 1-3. The recent clash has not been that long ago, back in February VfL were facing Leipzig in the last 16 of the DFB-Pokal. A journey that was not worth travelling at all as the game was proverbially over after 10 minutes played. It was 2-0 at half-time for Leipzig with goals by Haidara and Sabitzer. After the break, Poulsen scored a brace and sealed Leipzig’s victory. So, best ignore the record this week then! Sixth time lucky?

 

After keeping the match goalless for a good 70 minutes, VfL Bochum 1848 succumbed to a 3-0 defeat to Champions League participants RB Leipzig after a goal from Silva and a brace from in-form Nkunku.

After a late injury to Kostas Stafylidis, VfL head coach had to stick with an 18-man-squad for the Saturday evening match at Leipzig. For his starting XI, he made two changes from last week’s draw with Stuttgart, introducing Asano for Polter and Tesche for Löwen.

The hosts were in the driving seat from the start, with Forsberg’s free-kick finding Gvardiol after just one minute, but his header was saved by Riemann. In the 4th minute, the ref awarded a penalty for an alleged foul by Bockhorn but retracted his decision after a VAR intervention.

This seemed to spur Leipzig on and it was Swedish international Emil Forsberg who put the visitors’ defence to the test. In the 8th minute, he let fly from the right side but was denied by Riemann but the goalie would have been beaten two minutes later when Forsberg’s shot hit the bar.

VfL could only manage a long-range effort by Rexhbecaj in the 14th minute which was easily collected by Gulacsi while, down the other end, Riemann had to be at his best to deny Poulsen who was clean through.

The match slowed down a bit after this but in the 29th minute, Leipzig seemed certain to score when another pass through the centre found Nkunku who picked his spot only to see his side-footed shot to the far corner be saved by the excellent Manuel Riemann.

VfL Bochum’s high pressing line now promised to pay dividends when Rexhbecaj found Losilla in the right half of the box, but our skipper pulled his shot narrowly wide of the far post and the match was still goalless at the interval.

VfL Bochum started the second half with a half-chance when Antwi-Adjei, after controlling a liong kick by Riemann, found Holtmann with a low cross but our left winger had his shot blocked so that it trickled into Gulacsi’s hands.

Leipzig looked a lot less confident now and it was no surprise when Angelino picked up the first yellow card of the match for bringing down Bockhorn in a tactical foul. Just when the visiting fans had reason to dream of an unexpected point against one of the league’s most expensive teams, Leipzig took the lead through substitute Silva’s first touch of the match. A corner found the Portuguese completely unmarked in the six-yard box and his glancing header could only be stopped by Riemann behind the goal line.

Leipzig had us on the ropes now and another deep pass put Nkunku through and the in-form striker, who scored a hat-trick against Man City two weeks ago, made no mistake after 74 minutes.

Reis now threw on Polter, Pantović, Löwen and Blum for Holtmann, Asano, Antwi-Adjei and Rexhbecaj but his changes backfired when Nkunku was through again for the third goal.

VfL Bochum still pushed for a consolation goal and Patrick Osterhage was given his Bundesliga debut when he came on for Tesche but it was 3-0 at the final whistle.

Our next match will be away to the other newly promoted team in the top flight, SpVgg Fürth, after the international on 16th October in what must be considered a crucial match in both teams’ attempts to stay up. Better luck then and “Glückauf”!

 

Thomas Reis (Head Coach VfL Bochum 1848): Congratulations to Leipzig. We knew that the opponent has tremendous speed. You could see that in the first quarter of the game, we had a lot of problems there - but we also made it too easy for Leipzig. From the 20th minute onwards, we were able to get our shape and allowed fewer goals. We had a few half-chances, it's annoying that we couldn't make use of them in a phase when the crowd was getting restless. We defended well after the break and didn't really allow any chances until the goal. Then we were too far away and let Leipzig dominate us. Of course, this victory is not undeserved. But when it's 0-0 with twenty minutes to go, you expect something. It hurts, we would have liked to have taken a point, albeit a lucky one. We still had a few chances at the end, a goal would have done us good. We have a very important away game in 14 days. Then comes an opponent who is on a par with us.

Jesse Marsch (Head Coach RB Leipzig): I don't have that much to say. It was a real battle today, long balls were the opponent's match plan. We tried to react to that. In the end, we found the way and scored three goals.

Herbert Bockhorn (VfL Bochum 1848): I knew it wasn't a penalty. We both went for the ball, I was a tad earlier. My sole hits the ball. It may not have been easy for the ref to see. Fortunately, there was the video referee in this situation.

Manuel Riemann (VfL Bochum 1848): In the first half, Leipzig didn't take their chances. Neither did we. Sure, maybe they had the better opportunities and played it through more dangerously near our goal. We go into halftime at 0-0, we had Leipzig exactly actually where we wanted them to be. The Gegenpressing worked, but then we have to be more determined. It also worked for us after the change of ends. The spectators got restless and started whistling. For their first, the goal is simply poorly defended, we gifted it to the opponent. Standards can decide the game. Unfortunately, always against us. In the end, it's too easy. We knew that we had tough tasks ahead of us week after week. But we have to be careful not to concede goals at such short intervals. One goal against and we're out of the game. If it's still only 0-1 in the 85th minute, then there's still something in it. So everything was decided within eight minutes.