Before the game, new coach Thomas Reis' record was simple; two games, two draws! So a win felt overdue when SV Darmstadt 98 visited the Vonovia Ruhrstadion for the 8th matchday, with both teams in search of results to turn their form. There was an old acquaintance in the other dugout: Dimitrios Grammozis, once our U19 coach in the Talentwerk, returned to the Anne Castroper as SVD head coach. However, his old companion Reis did not want to give any welcoming gifts to his former assistant coach, with the importance of gaining three points paramount for the home side. Because the match against SV Sandhausen went very well over long periods, "Reisi" saw no reason to change the starting eleven. Grammozis made one change after the jarring 0-1 defeat against FC Heidenheim last week and brought in Marvin Mehlem for Marcel Heller.
You can follow the game as it happened below:
2': First chance of the hosts. Silvère Ganvoula is sent along the right flank and looks for Milos Pantovic in the middle, who just about gets to the ball but can't steer it in the right direction. A good start!
10': GOAL for VfL: 1-0! A cross from Danny Blum, Ganvoula misses the shot and the ball hits Immanuel Höhn on his arm. Ref’ Rohde lets play continue to run, but at the next interruption, Rohde points to the point after consulting the onside pitch monitor and Ganvoula sinks the penalty into the right corner!
13': Goal for SV Darmstadt 98: 1-1. A quick response and the lead has vanished. Darmstadt come within range of Riemann’s goal for the first time and voila, SVD profit. Free kick from the left, Höhn with too much space and heads powerfully. Riemann can only get to the ball behind the line – and we are back to square one!
20': The game is going back and forth, but is also intense. You can see that to both sides, this game is enormously important.
25': GOAL for VfL: 2-1! Let’s go! Ganvoula hauls the Blau-Weiß back in front. Danny Blum nutmegs a Darmstadt player on the left and shoots, his shot on the left and pulls off. Although it was deflected (by Höhn, of course), the ball falls perfectly to the Congolese, who heads in first time at the back post!
33': The guests rally again. The driving Mehlem takes aim from distance, missing well wide but nonetheless a good piece of work.
34': The Lillies push forward again. Victor Pálsson finds space in a dangerous position on the left hand side, but goes for goal himself instead of squaring the ball and Riemann collects safely.
35': Seungho Paik clashes badly into Anthony Losilla and rightfully so sees the first yellow card of the game. The subsequent free kick hits the wall, with Cristian Gamboa collecting the rebound before firing goalward. It’s too central, and this time Florian Stritzel can grab it.
39': Strong parry by Riemann. After a cross from the left, Serdar Dursun stretches out and hits the ball with the tip of his foot, in a karate-esque move, but can't control the direction of the ball enough, so that our defenders are able to get rid of the ball. Danilo Soares takes the initiative in ensuring that the ball is safely cleared away.
40': After a corner Vitaly Janelt tries his luck out of the mêlée that results- and it is dangerous! Stritzel has to use all his prevent the Bochumer doubling the lead.
42': Blum ankle-breaks Fabian Schnellhardt, but his shot doesn't have enough power and rolls past the left post. Speaking of ankle-breakers; The VfL SparkassenStars have their first home game at 7 pm. Stay right here and support the boys in the Rundsportshalle.
45': Tight one to call. The ball hits Saulo Decarli's arm in the Bochum penalty area. He attempts to draw his arm away, so that Rohde sees no need for VAR and lets play continue. Of course Darmstdt doesn't think too highly of the decision, but that’s okay.
Halftime! It’s Groundhog Day in Bochum as we witness an end-to end goalfest in the first half. Three goals were scored in the first 25 minutes, and going into the break the Bochumers will be the happier side. After we scored to make it 2-1, Darmstadt rallied again, from deep as opposed to on the counter. But the closer the break came, the more the VfL retook command of the fixture. The lead is therefore the fair reward for Reis’ starting eleven.
46': Each side make a change. For VfL Robert Tesche replaces the ill Soares, and Grammozis brings speedster Heller for Schnellhardt. Janelt moves to Soares’ left back position.
47': The hosts, yet again, have the first chances of the half. Simon Zoller crosses in from the right, and Blum and Patrick Herrmann shepherd the ball towards the left corner of the pitch. We win a corner from this pressure and whilst Darmstadt’s resulting counter is threatening, it thankfully is broken up.
58': What a counter attacking opportunity for VfL! Ganvoula asserts himself strongly in an aerial battle, he and Pantovic then find themselves two-on-one against the SVD defence! But agonisingly, Ganvoula's chiped cross is a bit too early and too imprecise, and Pantovic can't control it at all. That could have been it, it must have been!
62': Losilla wins the ball at the halfway line, drives forward and shoots. It slides a good metre wide.
66': The game has dropped slightly in momentum. Both coaches want to change something and make changes for the second time: Mehlem leaves the pitch for the guests, Ozegovic enters it. Reis takes Zoller off and sends Manuel Wintzheimer into the game.
70': Höhn, who has been involved in all three goals scored so far, climbs up after one corner, but heads the ball wide.
71': Short corner that Blum brings him into better position. His curling effort with his stronger left only just whizzes past the angle by a hair's breadth. That would have been a pleasant surprise!
72': The game picks up speed again. After an input from the right Tim Skarke comes to shoot. He doesn’t hit the ball well, but Gamboa is nonetheless correct in deflecting it Riemann's direction. But our keeper is vigilant and plunges back.
74': Another chance. Ganvoula fires wide.
76': Last change for the Lillies and Grammozis logically strengthens the attack. Paik leaves the field and Mathias Honsak comes into the foray.
79': Rice also plays his last card. Ulrich Bapoh gets ready to take Pantovic's place.
81': Next gigantic counter attack... After an unsuccessful free-kick cross by the guests, the ball spins to Wintzheimer, who wants to send Losilla, but his pass is poor. Unfortunately too far for the Frenchman.
85': Goal for Darmstadt: 2-2. Ah jeez, that’s so bitter. Cross from the right, Heller's first attempt is parried at close range by Riemann, but he's powerless to stop the striker heading home the rebound. Dammit!
86': And almost Dursun provides winner. In the centre the Turk comes onto a header completely free, but Riemann is on hand to parry.
90': Full time. Every matchday feels like Groundhog Day. After too passive a second half SV Darmstadt 98 earn themselves a point and remain ahead of VfL, who are the only side in the league still without a victory. Next stop is in Heidenheim, where we go again next Sunday.
VfL: Riemann - Gamboa, Decarli, Lorenz, Soares (46’ Tesche) - Pantovic (79’ Bapoh), Losilla, Janelt - Zoller (66’Wintzheimer), Blum – Ganvoula
Goals: 1-0 Ganvoula (10’ (p)), 1-1 Höhn (13’), 2-1 Ganvoula (25’), 2-2 Heller (85’)
Thomas Reis (VfL Bochum 1848 Head Coach): A well-worn path. We got into the game well, took the lead, then they equalised through a simple cross - that's tough to take because we simply should have defended this situation better. But we did well afterwards and felt more comfortable in the game than Darmstadt. Unfortunately, we had to take Danilo Soares out of the game in the half because he off the illness still hanging over him from yesterday. This meant we had to change the centre. Little things led to the fact that the mechanisms didn't work properly anymore, the gaps were too big. We must continue to work to ensure that the team gets the compactness aspect right on the pitch. We are disappointed because everyone was waiting for that winning feeling of relief. We will analyse the game now and then we will go again next week.
Dimitrios Grammozis (SV Darmstadt 98 manager): "I was happy to come back to Bochum today and meet a lot of people with whom I have been able to work with in recent years. About the game: It was a brutally intense game. In the first half we needed a little time to get into the game. We lost a lot of 50-50s. In addition, we gave our opponents too many opportunities to move forward. I think it was the little things that made the difference. The penalty kick came at a bad time. But we gave everything we had to come back after falling behind. After a routine freekick, we equalise and are back in the game. Then we allow Ganvoula to be free in the box, who makes the 2-0. We talked about some things at the break and my guys showed the spirit that I would have liked to see from the beginning. We were more committed and tougher. Maybe in the end we could have scored the winner.
Simon Lorenz: We're so disappointed again that we couldn't get three points. I think that we should have got three points today. I think we've become a bit too passive in the second half. We weren't as active in defending as we were with the ball. We couldn't put our stamp on the game anymore. We have to analyse that now and then work hard on ourselves.
Miloš Pantović: "I don't think we've forgotten how to win. At the moment, however, we simply can't manage to keep a lead over time. And as cliché as it sounds, we just have to keep going. I think there has been an improvement in the last few weeks, but still: We need to stop talking and start winning. Our plan after the break was to stay compact. But we allowed Darmstadt to play too much, that shouldn't happen to us at home. I am a little speechless. We are left to rue so many chances again, and we knew that if that was the case again we would find it tough at the end."
Anthony Losilla (c): "I feel like I have to repeat myself every week and always say the same thing. It's bitter again. We were good in the game but all of a sudden some uncertainty creeps in, then we just defended and didn't make much progress anymore - instead of being offensively minded. Then one after another we are made to defend crosses and eventually we succumb to a draw. We have to fight even harder for the three points and be more clever. This can't happen again. I felt like this last week and it just hurts. To wait so long for a victory is not easy psychologically, we always start to crack in the final phase of the game. But now we have to stay positive to get out of this difficult situation. We've shown that we can do it before."