We will be facing plenty of attacking power when we host Bayer Leverkusen at anne Castroper on Sunday. The Bayer team is well on its way to qualify for the Champions League. Here is our LOOK AHEAD to #BOCB04:
Third in the table, six points ahead - Champions League qualification is in the air. Bayer Leverkusen is playing a spectacular season. 110 goals were scored in the 28 games played by the "Werkself" (factory team) - only the matches involving Bayern generated more goals. Leverkusen recorded high-scoring victories: 7-1 against Fürth, 5-2 against Dortmund, 5-1 against Augsburg, 4-0 against Gladbach. On the other hand, they also lost 5-1 to Bayern, 5-2 in Frankfurt and 4-3 against BVB.
However, so far, the successes have outweighed the losses, so Gerardo Seoane's team will almost certainly be in Europe in the new season. As mentioned above, this is especially due to their attack - Patrik Schick has scored a fabulous 20 goals in 21 games, with Moussa Diaby on 12.
However, Bayer are missing some key players due to injuries. Especially the bitter injury of shooting star Florian Wirtz touched every football fan in Germany. The 18-year-old regularly shines on the pitch and we all hope that he will be back on the pitch soon. But Wirtz is not the only player missing for Leverkusen in the final stretch of the season. Amine Adli, who scored the winning goal in our first match, is out with a torn tendon. Jeremie Frimpong will also be out of action this season, having torn his syndesmosis ligament. Compared to the first match, Sardar Azmoun, an Iranian international, has joined Bayer from St. Petersburg in the winter.
THE HEAD COACH
Since the beginning of the season, Gerardo Seoane has been in charge of Bayer 04. For the 43-year-old, it is his first job in the Bundesliga. Before that, the former professional worked as head coach in his home country, Switzerland. For his hometown club FC Luzern he coached the U18s, U21s and worked as an assistant coach before becoming head coach in January 2018. After half a season, however, it was over in Lucerne: Young Boys Bern lured Seoane, who also has Spanish citizenship, to the Swiss capital.
Three championship titles in a row and a Cup victory later, Soane moved on to Germany's top tier. This was "a leap to the next level," said Seoane, who speaks six languages fluently, at the start. "Of course, Switzerland always looks towards the Bundesliga. It's a top European league, and Bayer 04 Leverkusen have consistently been among the top clubs for many years."
Seoane and Bayer seem to be a perfect fit. The coach has a contract until 2024 and has led his team to largely convincing performances this season. They are third in the league and made it to the last 16 in the Europa League before being ousted by Atalanta Bergamo.
Bayer Leverkusen are not really the Blue-and-Whites' favourite opponent as they won 27 of 58 duels. This was also the case in our first encounter this season. VfL put in a strong performance away at Leverkusen, but in addition to some bad luck, they had to cope with a video referee who did not have his best day. No penalty whistle after a foul by Tah, no red card despite a brutal tackle at knee height on Elvis - two blatantly wrong decisions that caused a lot of discussion afterwards. In the end, it didn't matter, because Adli's early goal sealed an unfortunate VfL defeat. Our last victory over Bayer dates back to 2008, when Thomas Zdebel and Christoph Dabrowski scored in a 2-0 win.
Another impressive performance! VfL scored one point against Champions League candidates Bayer Leverkusen – which makes a total of 36 points up to now. It was a game at eye level with Bochum having the better chances to score the winner. Even though VfL were quite fortunate when Diaby “missed“ a penalty. In front of a 25,000 crowd Simon Zoller celebrated his comeback in the sold-out Vonovia Ruhrstadion.
Matchday 29 – VfL Bochum 1848 welcomed Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Sunday afternoon. For the first time after more than two years the Vonovia Ruhrstadion was a sell-out again. 25,000 fans, kind of going back to normal. Compared to the 2-1 away win over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim head coach Thomas Reis changed his starting line-up on only one position. Armel Bella Kotchap returned from his yellow card suspension for Erhan Mašović.
Here's how the game went
1' Kick-off. Let’s go, lads!
1' A sold-out Vonovia Ruhrstadion. Great that all of you can be around again!
4' Not too much happened in the initial four minutes, now the first chance of the match. Paulinho sets up for Schick. The Czech does not hit the ball properly, Riemann not in danger.
5' Now first effort by VfL, nice move! Toto enters the box after one-two with Pantovic and outplays keeper Hradecky, but the ball is too slow to cross the goal line and can be cleared.
8' Riemann needs a short treatment after an aerial duel, but the keeper can play on.
9' Asano – very confident after his brace against Hoffenheim – plays a back-heeled pass to Soares, who centres the ball. Asano gets back in possession, but his shot is blocked.
10' Freekick by Stafylidis. He can do better. The ball goes wide.
14' Passes and plays are too imprecisely to create scoring chances in front of the opposing goal – but this is true for both side.
16' The attacking duo Riemann and Asano almost strikes again. Our keeper plays a through ball right to the Japanese. The situation can be cleared in the nick of time.
17' Made a mistake and immediately smoothed it out. Bella Kotchap cannot stop Schick on the first attempt, but throws himself into Paulinho’s effort. Well, that’s confidence!
21' Good attacking play by VfL over four stations. Bella Kotchap, Gamboa, Pantovic, Asano. Ends up as a throw-in, but a decent try.
23' Schick wins the aerial duel, but the ball goes over the crossbar.
25' Pantovic! What a chance! Remarkable deep forward pass from Leitsch, Pantovic appears completely alone in front of Hradecky, seems a bit surprised and fails.
27' Although not everything works out – Pantovic shows a complete commitment. Another attacking play over the right side, his ball into the box is finally picked up by the Leverkusen goalie.
30' Leverkusen is forced to make their first substitution due to injury. Bakker replaces Tah.
33' The game calms down. Both teams focus on their defensive play.
36' Paulinho was almost up and away. Gamboa slides away but is able to block the shot after a powerful sprint!
36' Shot by Demirbay, but directly towards Riemann.
38' Polter catches a misplaced pass, but immediately two players block his ways.
41' Two fantastic tackles from Leitsch, two times Schick is not able to get past our No 29!
42' Soares hits the crossbar! Our left-back is unchallenged and shows a powerful shot from a 16-metre distance that hits the crossbar! That could’ve been a goal of the month.
45 +2' Last chance before halftime belongs to VfL. Polter’s header after a sharp cross by Soares misses the target.
Half-time: All square at the break, VfL have looked the better of the two sides.
46' Re-start. No substitutions on either side.
47' About a minute played VfL record their next chance. Asano’s long-range shot goes wide.
54' Asano is fouled by Kossounou. Freekick from a promising position.
55' The freekick ends up in a corner kick, which causes no danger.
57' VfL are the better team, a lead wouldn‘t be undeserved.
61' Now a chance for Leverkusen after a corner kick. Polter clears Kossounou’s header.
62' Two substitutions for VfL. Holtmann and Löwen are sent on for Pantovic and Rexhbecaj. Let’s go, lads!
63' The visitors are awarded a penalty kick. Löwen, who was just brought on, fouls Paulinho. Correct decision.
65' Diaby can convert the penalty. But he slides away and therefore hits the ball twice. The goal does not count! Bad luck for Leverkusen, lucky VfL lads!
66' Bellarabi replaces Paulinho.
70' The attendance figure is announced. 25,000, sold out! Thanks for being around!
71' Asano plays a through pass to Polter who cannot shoot properly. That was a good chance.
72' Löwen outplays two Leverkusen players, but is stopped shortly before he can shoot.
75' Again it’s Löwen who causes some trouble in the visitors‘ defence. Stafylidis plays a perfect pass, but the angle gets too narrow for Löwen and the ball goes wide.
77' Triple substitution for Leverkusen. Alario, Sinkgraven and Palacios replace Bellarabi, Hincapie and Demirbay.
78' Palacios‘s effort from a long range is harmless.
81' Standing ovations from the Bochum fans when Simon Zoller returns after his cruciate rupture. Blum is also sent on. Polter and Asano leave the pitch.
86' Header by Blum. Good effort, but not powerful enough.
87' Leverkusen still keeps on attacking as well. Andrich‘s shot is blocked, corner kick.
90' We keep pushing Leverkusen back into their own half. Awesome.
90' Three minutes of additional time.
90'+1 Zoller’s effort after a cross by Blum misses the target!
90'+3 Bayer with a last freekick, but Manu saves!
Full-time: No goals, but a reasonable match at Castroper Strasse with a well-deserved point for the lads in blue and white. Great pleasure about an impressive performance from VfL, not only for returnee Simon Zoller. On Easter Saturday we can take the next step to ensure staying up when we play away against SC Freiburg (kick-off: Saturday, 16 April, 3:30PM (CET)).
Thomas Reis (head coach VfL Bochum 1848): "We're happy to take the point. Leverkusen are a great team, they have an incredible amount of pace in their ranks. We defended very, very well and allowed them very little. Of course, we were lucky with the penalty, which was an odd thing in itself. It was a very exciting and open game with a lot of pace. I thought the crowd were sensational today, there was support from the first to the last minute. The point was celebrated like a victory. We're one step closer to our goal.
Gerardo Seoane (head coach Bayer 04 Leverkusen): The draw is fair. Both had few opportunities. That was because both teams managed to not let their opponents' strengths come to the fore. A big compliment to the spectators. It was a great crowd with a very good atmosphere. We would have liked to take home more points, the penalty was bitter, of course. But the draw is absolutely fair. Bochum caused us a lot of problems with their fast players.
Simon Zoller: It feels very good to be back on the pitch. It's been a long seven months and I'm very happy. The fans are behind you when you give everything for the club. I think I've done that over the last few years. I'm looking forward to attacking again and being back. I feel good. Of course, there's still something missing, but that will come with time. We've come a bit closer to staying in the league again.
Sebastian Polter: It was a tough game for us. In the end, it's always about points, and we earned the point today. We could have won, but that's football. We came one point closer to our dream. Simon worked hard on his comeback. He deserved the effort after three weeks of training. The point is also for Simon. He is very important for us. We need him both on the pitch and in the dressing room. We have to keep fighting like this and then we'll manage to stay in the division.
Maxim Leitsch: The point is definitely fair. We had good opportunities, especially in the second half. We broke through on the outside a few times, but unfortunately didn't make enough of those chances. But we can be satisfied with the point. We haven't managed to keep our place in the league yet, we still have a few games to go. But it looks good for us.