Alongside Hannover, Oldenburg and Braunschweig, the city of Osnabrück is one of the four largest cities in the federal state of Lower Saxony. About 15 percent of the 160,000plus inhabitants are students and attend local colleges or the local university. In light of this, Osnabrück - like Münster, which is only about 50 kilometres away - has a high density of pubs and bars in the old town for its' visitors and students. Historically, the two cities (Münster and Osnabrück) have been linked for centuries by the peace treaties signed in both cities in 1648.
Home matchdays are also known as "Bridge Days" at VfL Osnabrück, with a nod to the name of the home ground of the Lila-Weißen - the Bremer Brücke ('Brücke' being 'bridge' in German). The stadium, which has a capacity of 16,000 fans, is located in the middle of a residential area in the Osnabrück district of Schinkel. From Osnabrück main central station, fans only have to walk about 1.6km to reach the stadium; something both sets of VfL fans have in common.
The first football club in Osnabrück was founded on 17th April 1899 under the name FC 1899 Osnabrück, a consequence of two sports and leisure teams, Antipodia Osnabrück and Minerva Osnabrück, merging. After the First World War and further mergers, the club was renamed VfL Osnabrück in April 1924.
Daniel Thioune is a real Osnabrücker, through and through; he was born in the neighbouring town Georgsmarienhütte. As a player he pulled on the Lila-Weißen shirt for six years, and was top scorer in the Regionalliga Nord in the 1998/99 season and helped VfL Osnabrück get promoted to the 2. Bundesliga in 2000. After finishing his career at Rot Weiss Ahlen in 2010, he returned to the Bremer Brücke three years later, at first in an academy coach capacity. After gaining experience as U17, and then U19 coach, he was then employed as Head of the Academy until he was promoted to interim manager of the first team in October 2017. A few weeks later he became the head coach on a permanent basis. Thioune and his team managed to keep the side in the 3. Liga - and one year later he was able to secure the 3. Liga championship, securing VfL's promotion to the 2. Bundesliga. In September, the 45-year-old's contract was extended for an extra year, his contract now runing until the summer of 2021.
HEAD TO HEAD
So far there have been four matches between VfL Bochum 1848 and VfL Osnabrück - with all encounters ending in a Blau-Weißen victory. The first two meetings were in the Regionnalliga in 1971, with Bochum winning 4-2 and 3-1. The next match between the two sides came about almost 50 years later: on Matchday 16 of the 2010/11 season- VfL won 2-1 at home. In the return fixture, Marcel Maltritz and Mahir Saglik scored two vital goals in stoppage time for the Bochumers, turning a 1-1 draw into a 3-1 victory, ensuring VfL would make the relegation play-off match against Borussia Mönchengladbach, which Bochum subsequently lost.
THE STATE OF PLAY
Joint with Hamburg SV, VfL Osnabrück currently have the best defense in the 2. Bundesliga; thus far the Lila-Weißen have only conceded twelve goals. Thione's XI have only conceded more than two goals on two occasions this season- on Matchday 1, when they lost 3-1 at home to Heidenheim, and a 3-3 draw against Jahn Regensburg on Matchday 12. With 16 points after 13 games, VfL currently sit ninth in the table, with their most recent success a win against VfB Stuttgart at the Bremer Brücke. "We were cheeky, courageous, and put VfB under pressure again and again", Thioune explained after the victory. VfL are now unbeaten in the last four games; before their victory against Stuttgart, the Lila-Weißen had drawn three times in a row; against Hannover and Fürth (both 0-0) and versus Regensburg (3-3).
VfL welcomed VfL on Friday evening. The men from Osnabrück, promoted this season to the 2. Bundesliga, were guests at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion. In front of more than 20,000 spectators, the Blau-Weißen got off to the best start possible, with Danny Blum scoring after just two minutes. However, the visitors came into the game more and more, with Schmidt scored a well-deserved equaliser in first half stoppage time. After the break, VfL could have taken the lead several times through Ganvoula and Blum, but ultimately had to settle for a point.
The stage was set for a fiery few weeks for VfL Bochum 1848. Four of next five games in the league were to take place at the Ruhrstadion in Bochum, with the Bochumers returning on Friday night after two weeks out due to the international break. Clearly, a good opportunity to create a bit of a gap between VfL and the dropzone before the winter break. The beginning of this run of fixtures came in Matchday 14, with the visit of surprise package of this season thus far VfL Osnabrück. 20,768 spectators made the Vonovia Ruhrstadion look almost bewitched under floodlight, with ferociously loud support from the beginning, a huge benefit to VfL.
After pressure was released in the previous home game with the first home victory against Nuremberg, the battle with the men from Lower Saxony was next in store. VfL head coach Thomas Reis was forced to make two changes to the starting eleven that began the last fixture, away at FC St. Pauli. Danilo Soares was missing due to the accumulation of 5 yellow cards leaving him suspended, and Simon Lorenz had to miss out at short notice due to illness. Stefano Celozzi and Saulo Decarli were direct replacements, with no change to the rest of the formation or line-up. Due Thomas Eisfeld and Tom Weilandt’s injuries also meaning that they dropped out, Görkem Saglam and the fit-again Cristian Gamboa joined the squad. Reis' opposite number Daniel Thioune made change three times, in part due to a flue virus that befell many of the away side’s men. Lukas Gugganig was out injured, with Joost van Aken and David Blacha also missing. Adam Susac, Sven Köhler and Nico Granatowski moved into the starting side in replacement.
Regardless of this, the clear task from the Bochumer coaches and Sporting Director Sebastian Schindzielorz was: "Do everything you can to keep the three points in Bochum".
2’ GOALLLL for VfL - 1-0! What a start! With Chung Yong Lee’s press disturbing Osnabrück deep in the away end’s half, and a VfL Osnabrück misplaces his pass, with Danny Blum latching on. It pinballs around between Lee, Blum and the away side, but somehow Blum picks the ball up and hammers it in from an acute angle!
10’ Out of the blue the away side have a penalty, after Marcos Alvarez is adjudged to have been impeded by Decarli. It’s definitely not clearcut, but referee Benedikt Kempkes points to the point and Cologne’s VAR takes no issue with the decision. Eventually it doesn’t matter, because Manuel Riemann, who has been imperious from the spot this season, clings on to Alvarez's attempt.
21’ It is already pretty clear that this will be a hard fight until the end. Blum's sharp attempt off a dead ball set-piece finds Armel Bella Kotchap, who aims his header toward the top left corner, but his effort is just wide. Close.
27’ If anything is to come from this period, it’d be for the Blau-Weißen. Anthony Losilla and Silvère Ganvoula combine on the left, and after Losilla's fake, which is definitely worth a second viewing, he is unfortunately unable to find a player in the middle when he crosses. The ball falls to Osei-Tutu, but alas even his cross-shot doesn't find someone in the middle.
29’ Now it’s Osnabrück on the attack, but thanks to Celozzi and shortly after Bella-Kotchap- VfL heroically throw themselves in front of the away side’s shots.
31’ And breathe! While Osei-Tutu is being treated, Niklas Schmidt unleashes a shot from 30 yards and the shot crashes onto the underside of the crossbar - Riemann has no chance. The last few minutes have been dominated by the guests.
37’ Osnabrück again, Schmidt again proving to be dangerous. Bashkim Ajdini crosses in from the right hand side, Schmidt acrobatically shooting. Fortunately, the ball flies past the post on the right side- a hair’s breadth away.
41’ The hosts go up a gear. Blum's long-range shot flies a few meters over the bar.
45’ Goal for Osnabrück - 1-1. Another penalty for Osnabrück, and this time there are no complaints. Osei-Tutu is clumsy in challenging Felix Agu, who was the first player in the game to see a yellow card for a foul on Simon Zoller. This time Schmidt takes the penalty and slots past Riemann.
Half-time: A deserved equaliser, but still unnecessarily given away. And yet we could even have been behind. After a good ten minute period by the Resi XI, the guests began to control the game more and more and thanks to Osei-Tutu's mistake the guests have profited to ensure the game is tied going into the second half.
46’ No changes at the break, the only delay to the restart of play being the away fans igniting a number of flares.
49’ Thick thing for Ganvoula, who picks up a bad pass from Schmidt, ignites the turbo and suddenly appears free in front of Philipp Kühn in the Osnabrück box. He skilfully foiled, and the Congolese acted a little too hesitantly.
51’ Osnabrück have their first attempt of the second half, but the shot from Köhler is wide and high.
53’ Yellow card now for Köhler, who clips Losilla on his ankle, that was painful.
55’ Cross-shot from Blum, which Kühn is able to grab just in front of the onrushing Zoller.
56’ The game is to’ing and fro’ing; now Osnabrück again. Ajdini is released on the right by Schmidt, Riemann tips his shot, diving to his left, and it’s a corner.
62’ VAR checks a possible penalty…
63’ Penalty for the Blau-Weißen! Ajdini is adjudged to have handled the ball in a one-on-one with Blum, the ball hitting his arm. A controversial decision. Ganvoula picks the ball up, but he shot is saved by Kühn.
67’ Kühn clears directly to Lee, who shoots immediately. Luckily for Kühn, he was able to get back into position fast enough and has the play equipment. Shortly afterwards Losilla shoots over the bar. The hosts go up a gear once more.
73’ Free kick Osnabrück. Alvarez' attempt looks good, but in fact does not pose much danger to Riemann. We are into the final chunk of the game.
74’ Counter from our own half; Robert Tesche wins the ball well and plays Blum in, who twists and turns before shooting low and powerfully. The ball just hisses past the post.
75’ First change of game: Manuel Wintzheimer comes, Lee makes way.
76’ Yellow card for Losilla due to persistent fouling. Apparently.
80’ Osnabrück make their first change. Thioune sends Benjamin Girth into battle, replacing Alvarez.
82’ Reis makes another change, with Jordi going to right wing, and Zoller comes off, with Gamboa coming on at right back.
82’ Blum again, almost a rerun of a few minutes ago. Again his shot flies past the far post. Perhaps third time lucky next time?
84’ A big chance for the guests. Schmidt is alone 12 yards out and a cross falls to him at waist height. He decides to volley first time, and whilst it was hit well, it’s very central and easy pickings for Riemann. Phew!
87’ Osnabrück with a second change. Scorer Schmidt leaves the field, and Anas Ouahim replaces him.
89’ The guests run down the clock, Thioune using his third substitute, with Köhler taking his time to leave the pitch. Marc Heider takes his place.
90+2’ The last chance! Ganvoula shoots again, hard but too central. Kühn spilled it slightly but was eventually able to gather it safely.
Full Time: In the VfL ‘derby’ Bochum and Osnabrück share the spoils at 1-1. The guests had more joy in the first half of the two sides, but the Bochumers were closer to breaking the deadlock in the second half, with Ganvoula having the two best chances (including a penalty). Blum also threatened many times. Next week, the next home game - FC Erzgebirge Aue will be guests at the Anne Castroper.
Thomas Reis (Head Coach of VfL Bochum 1848): "I'm unhappy with the way we performed today in the first half. The very good start should have given us security, but it in fact unfortunately did the complete opposite. We didn’t connect well. It was a question of time, we had the feeling that we would get a goal if we had a few more minutes. We could only be happy that we went into half time tied. During the break, we tried to correct a few things and narrow the spaces in the middle. We had the wingers defend differently - that worked better. With a bit of luck on our side, we would have scored our penalty. Danny Blum passed the ball nicely a few times in the last third. Because of the first half you have to say that the point for Osnabrück is not undeserved.
Danny Blum (VfL Bochum 1848): We took the lead after two minutes, that was a dream start in front of the setting we had at home. It was a mystery to me at first that we then dropped off massively. In the first half we saw that the distances between us were too big and we weren’t able to keep everything compact. Osnabrück made good use of that during this phase. At some point we didn't defend as well as we should have done any more, and then we give away two stupid penalties us. Manu keeps us in the game the first time - a great save and huge kudos to him for how many penalties he has saved so far this season. In the second half we changed our game. Then you could see that we were more compact and more solid again. Our centre worked and we got back into a rhythm of quick counters again - then Osnabrück had chances again from the edge of the box towards the end of the game. Unfortunately, we had a problem in the end today. A few percents were missing from our performance. All in all, I think a draw is a just result.
Simon Zoller (VfL Bochum 1848): We know that we sometimes struggle to maintain leads. Nevertheless, I think that we accepted the fight in a good way today in the second half. We still had chances to win the game - we mustn't forget that. Nevertheless, the point is ok when you consider the whole balance of play.
Sebastian Schindzielorz (Sporting Director of VfL Bochum 1848): "The performance was not sufficient to earn three points. With a little luck with our penalty, the course of the game would have swung in our favour, but all in all we have to do more and play better. We didn’t do enough to win today. In the first half we weren't quite on it and were too vulnerable; we had big problems with diagonal balls. Of course we would have liked to have won, but in the end we have to be satisfied with the point and now we have to concentrate fully on Aue now. We have had too many draws, victories would of course be a lot better. But one point is better than none."
Stefano Celozzi (VfL Bochum 1848): "To get off the ground, we need wins and we have scored a lot of goals this season; however this game was a very difficult one. In fact Osnabrück showed this grit throughout the game. They presented us with problems, they gave us the opportunity to score and we couldn’t although we had chance. If we had converted our second half chances, we could also have won. So I think it was a fair draw. We were too passive in the first half despite the 1-0 and tried too hard to defend instead of playing actively with the ball. We wanted to change that after the break and at times we succeeded."
Anthony Losilla (VfL Bochum 1848): "I am an optimist and next week we will have the opportunity to win at home again. Nevertheless, that performance was not enough to earn three points today. We were too passive in the first half, it was far too little. Instead of pushing us, the fast goal slowed us down a bit. We have to analyse that. But we can only look forward, because we're going to continue against Aue. We need three points to get out of the situation and that's what we're working on. We're still on the right track, but we have to work hard."