Officially speaking: Aue is a district. Since January 1st 2019, the village of 16,000 from the Saxon area of Erzgebirgskreis has belonged to the large district town of Aue-Bad Schlema, which is itself a part of the Silberberg league of cities. The city (or town) lies in the trough of the Zwickau valley and was self-sufficient for centuries thanks to the mining and production of iron, silver and tin ores. Later, mechanical engineering and textile processing became more prominent in the region, and after WWII, uranium deposits ensured economic prosperity. Since reunification, however, Aue has had to contend with negative migration from the valley to bigger cities, with more than a fifth of the 20,000 inhabitants who once lived there moving out of the mining town.
“The power in the shafts”: This slogan is apparent to any and every visitor of Aue, as seen most evidently when away fans pass under the motorway on their way to the Erzgebirgsstadion. That the home of FCE has more seats (16,485) than Aue has inhabitants (16,012, as of December 2017), is remarkable in itself. Since the most recent renovation work, the Erzgebirgsstadion has provided the standard of stadium that long-standing fans of the “Veilchen (Violets)” had wished for for years, with adjustments to the stadium structure added such as a roof going all the way round the stands. Before the Erzgebirgsstadion, Aue played in the Städtisches Stadion Aue, which was priorly called Otto-Grotewohl-Stadion until 1950. The stadium held up to 25,000 spectators.
HISTORY FROM THE EAST
„Aue, immer wieder Aue, immer wieder Wismut Aue“ (“Aue, again and again Aue, again and again Bismuth (a chemical element) Aue”). Thus goes the team’s principal song’s chorus, sung every game with gusto by the thousands and thousands of violet-clad fans. FC Erzgebirge Aue has existed in its current form since January 14th 1990. The team beforehand in Aue, BSG Wismut Aue, the chant a homage to their old name, had existed under a variety of different names: founded as BSG Pneumatik Aue in 1949 before continuing as BSG Zentra Wismut Aue a year later, BSG Wismut Aue first came into existence under the aforementioned name in 1951, and continued to play for four decades in the top-tier GDR Oberliga, the East Germany equivalent to the West German Bundesliga. They did have one more name change, entering the league as SC Wismut Karl-Marx-Stadt between 1954 and 1963. No team played in the GDR Oberliga as much as the Aue/Karl-Marx-Stadt side of the mid 20th Century.
THE GOLDEN AGE
Aue was able to win the league in the first season of the GDR Oberliga, a newly founded league in the aftermath of WWII. The side’s heyday was certainly in the fifties, when BSG Wismut won the league four times (1955, 1956, 1957 and1959) and won the FDGB Pokal in the 1954/55 season. In 1959, they reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup, no mean feat.
THE HEAD COACH
The ex-German international Dirk Schuster (four caps for the GDR, three for the unified German team) forged his career as a tough defender, playing for 1. FC Magdeburg, Eintracht Braunschweig, Karlsruher SC and 1. FC Köln, amongst others. As a coach he managed to lead SV Darmstadt 98 to back to back promotions from 3. Liga to the Bundesliga from 2013-15; a feat made even more astounding when you consider the season before Darmstadt’s promotion from 3. Liga- they should have technically been relegated down to the fourth-tier Regionalliga Südwest after finishing in the 3. Liga relegation places in the 2012/13 season, only to be saved from relegation when great rivals Offenbach were unable to gain the correct license to stay in 3. Liga, and so were relegated instead of Darmstadt. That period with Darmstadt enabled Schuster to win German Coach of the Year in the year that Darmstadt 98 played their first season in the Bundesliga for 33 years. Alas, since then, he hasn’t had as much luck. His stint at FC Augsburg in 2016 barely lasted six months and a subsequent return to Darmstadt in December 2017, where he’d made his name as a coach, also fell short of expectations, the ex-international leaving by mutual consent in February 2019. Born in Karl-Marx-Stadt, he has now been in charge of FCE since 26th August this year, replacing Daniel Meyer.
HEAD TO HEAD
The Violets and VfL have faced one another 19 times so far, and the record favours the Blau-Weißen slightly; ten wins for Bochum, three draws and nine Aue wins. Anne Castroper has traditionally been a difficult hunting ground for Saturday’s guests, Aue still searching for their first three points in Bochum. VfL vs Aue in December 2011 also produced VfL’s largest ever victory, celebrating a 6-0 victory. Last season witnessed last-second winners in both fixtures; Tom Weilandt hitting the winner for the Blau-Weißen to secure a 2-1 victory in Bochum, whilst in the return fixture Aue’s Dimitrij Nazarov scored a last-minute penalty to snatch all three points for FCE in a 3-2 victory, a goal that ended Bochum’s eight-match unbeaten run against the Violets.
THE STATE OF PLAY
Aue is undoubtedly the surprise package of this season. The Saxons are fourth in the league, a mere three points behind hot-favourites for promotion VfB Stuttgart. Last weekend they earned a valuable 3-1 victory at home against FC St. Pauli, with strikers Florian Krüger and Pascal Testroet on the scoresheet. Dimitrij Nazarov also scored another penalty, his 17th penalty conversion out of 18 attempts across his career. Aue is unbeaten in three games (one win and two draws) since Fortuna Düsseldorf dumped them out of the cup with a 2-1 win and Dirk Schuster’s former club Darmstadt surprisingly secured a 1-0 win. “We deserve to be where we are in the league”, insisted centre-back Sören Gonther, before adding: “We are just happy to get three points closer to 40 points, every time we win.” Erzgebirge won’t hear anything on the subject of promotion possibilities. Not yet anyway.
What a feeling! In the Saturday lunchtime kick-off, VfL Bochum 1848 secured a 2-0 victory home victory against FC Erzgebirge Aue, their second home victory this season and the first clean sheet of the 2019/20 campaign. More importantly, the Blau-Weißen picked up a valuable 3 points, hard-earned and well-deserved.
Before the game, head coach Thomas Reis made three changes to the starting line-up that started last Friday night’s 1-1 home draw against VfL Osnabrück; including a surprise adjustment that later proved to be a masterstroke. As well as regular full-backs Cristian Gamboa and Danilo Soares returning to the team after injury and suspension respectively (Jordi Osei-Tutu and Stefano Celozzi dropping to the bench), Reis brought Miloš Pantović into the first XI, in place of Simon Zoller- Pantović’s first start in the league since the 2-2 home draw against SV Darmstadt 98 in the last week of September. Tom Weilandt returned to the bench after a spell out with injury.
Aue’s head coach, Dirk Schuster, made two forced changes to the side that beat FC St. Pauli 3-1 at home last week; Philipp Riese and Clemens Fandrich were both yellow carded for the fifth time against Pauli and so were suspended for this weekend’s fixture. The two were replaced by Louis Samson and ex-Bochumer Dominik Wydra. Jan Hochscheidt was also missing, the ever-present midfielder for Aue serving the second game of his three match suspension following a 41st minute red card against Karlsruher SC four weeks ago.
After a goalless first half, where VfL did everything but score, a clever flick from Pantovic set skipper Anthony Losilla free on the Aue goal; the latter duly dispatched to the relief of the vast majority of the 14,794 spectators inside the Ruhrstadion. After a spell of pressure from Aue tested Bochum’s defensive resolve in the latter stages of the game, Aue shot themselves in the foot, with central defender Mihojevic receiving his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card in the last minutes of the game. In stoppage time, a VfL counterattack sealed a win the lifted the spirits of all those in Blau-Weiß, Zoller bursting through on goal before his cross was turned into his own net by Aue’s Samson- what proved to be the final kick of the game. What a win!
The live feed here:
0' | The players emerge from the tunnel to beautiful blue Bochum skies, Grönemeyer blaring through the speakers. There's nothing quite like this place.
1' | Bochum in all white with blue sleeves, the visitors Aue in all purple. The visitors to kick off toward the Ostkurve. And we're off!
3' | Quiet start, with ball possession largely with the home side; without creating much, before Danny Blum drives through and sees a searing shot fly just high! Männel was well beaten despite flinging himself to his left.
4' | Männel's goal kick is plucked out the air by Pantović, who finds Ganvoula on the edge of the box. The Congolese twists and turns before shooting left-footed, producing a fine save from Aue's number 1! Aue now go down the other end and win a corner.
7' | Corner apiece now, with neither producing much of a threat. Bochum back on the ball. Aue sitting deep, and a chipped ball to Danilo allows the Brazilian to lay off to Pantović, who wins a corner. Blum swings in... blocked by an encroaching defender.
10' | First ten and VfL have dominated thus far, with 74% possession. Aue now on the attack, Decarli defends well and Riemann is safely able to pluck the deflected cross out of the air.
13' | Nazarov, scorer of the last-minute winner in Aue last year, slices a shot high and wide.
16' | Super work from Decarli and Pantovic to break up play, but Gamboa's cross is wayward and Aue have a goal kick.
19' | Great possession from VfL, who perhaps need to be a bit more adventurous in the final third. Tesche eventually takes aim from distance, but it's well wide.
22' | Aue defending deep, in a 5-4-1; so whilst we are playing well and passing with ease, penetrative football is harder to come by due to Aue's defensive rigidity. Nazarov fouls Lee though, and its a Blum FK from 30 yards...hits the wall.
23' | Aue player down, Nazarov; he's trotted off the pitch though and should be fine to continue- he jogs back on to a few whistles and jeers from the Ostkurve.
27' | Freekick out wide left after Danilo is clipped. Blum to swing in.... is poor and Aue break, only for Krüger to squander a great chance by slicing over the netting behind the goal. Some lucky Bochumer's managed to keep the ball.
28' | Big chance here now! Mihojevic trips Ganvoula just outside the box and gets a yellow for his troubles. Danny Blum with a great chance now to test Männel.
30' | He hits the upright, and the ball bounces out to Losilla who thumps it goalward, but Decarli stops it accidentally and is ruled offside! MISSTTTTT! HOW!? Losilla gets a yellow card a moment after.
32' | BIG CHANCE for ABK now! Cross from Blum and ABK's shot from 10 yards can't trouble Männel. ARGHHHHH
34' | Another chance for VfL!!! Danny Blum is away and plays in Ganvoula, who's just offside! Should have gone alone!
36' | Nazarov's deflected shot is easily held by Riemann, who's not been busy this half thanks to Bochum dominance. NEED. TO. NOW. MAKE. IT. COUNT.
38' | Lee excellently wriggles out of 'double coverage'. Losilla then fake crosses, leaving Aue's fullback for dead. Again, though, promising play and position comes to nothing.
38' | 10 VfL shots to Aue's 3; 74% possession in favour of the hosts. But it's 0-0. The numbers do not lie.
43' | Nazarov with a shot from 35 yards. Closer to the roof than the goal.
44' | Big chance Losilla; his volley is saved well by Männel from close quarters.
45+' | 1 MINUTE ADDED TIME.
HT: VfL are by far the better side on the day here, and must make more of their superiority against an impotent, but defensively sound Aue. Our play has not yet reaped much reward, but the approach and identity is far clearer than it was last week. VfL now need to take their chances; more luck and Blum’s free-kick and Losilla’s follow-up would have seen VfL take the lead.
46' | And we're off again!
50' | Testroet breaks away on the right-hand side, and crosses in to Krüger. His shot is miscued badly. High. Very high.
51' | Blum flattened by Samson. Cleaned out, and he gets a freekick wide left, deep in Aue territory.
51' | Blum crosses in... headed out and subsequent crosses are cleared by the men in purple.
54' | Aue break dangerously before a crunching challenge from ABK halts their progress.
57' | Aue break forward with Krüger, who's shot from the left side of the box is just wide. Earlier the Ostkurve felt Danny Blum should have had a penalty as he weaved into the box after good play by Lee and Danilo, but ref' Alt waved the appeal away.
60' | Wydra tries to lob Riemann from the halfway line; Riemann has it covered easily. Heart in mouth moment there for a second.
61' | GOAAL FOR VfL! 1-0! LOSILLA YOU BEAUTY. Pantovic sees a gap and cleverly slips skipper Toto in, who just has Männel to beat and he does!
64' | Danilo down after getting chopped by Kempe. He's okay to continue though.
66' | Ganvoula narrowly offside when Tesche plays him through in what would have been a big chance.
69' | Ganvoula with another chance but it's blocked! Panto' with great pressure to win the ball back high up the pitch for Bochum.
71' | Foul by Danilo and Nazarov and Aue have a deep freekick on the right; swung in.... close. Headed just over by Samson. Danilo was booked for the foul.
72' | Thank you to all those that have made the trip to the Ruhrstadion today; 14,794 is the official attendance for today's game.
73' | Yellow card now to Aue's Baumgart, who fouls Soares.
74' |First change for Aue; Wydra is replaced by Zulechner; an offensive change.
76' | Pantovic fouls on the left. Freekick Aue. Guests putting on a bit of pressure now. Wow. Close. The freekick was clipped in dangerously and ended with a scissor kick from Mihojevic going just over.
77' | Good play by Rizzuto, who wins a corner for Aue. Corner is cleared.
78' | First change for VfL imminent. Looks to be Simon Zoller coming on.
78' | It is indeed a first substitution for Bochum. It comes after Lee was fouled by the halfway line. Pantovic, who made the only goal of the game, makes way. Simon Zoller on.
80' | Second sub for Aue. Baumgart off, Daferner on.
81' | Zulechner in the book now.
84' | Mihojevic is off!!! He brings down Ganvoula cynically after Blum's through ball and he gets his marching orders!
87' | Second change for VfL. Well played Chungy! Manuel Wintzheimer comes on for the Korean.
88' | Wintzy straight into the action and nearly scores! In the meantime, Peter Greiber gets a yellow card. He's our goalkeeper coach.... hmm.
90' | NOOOO THAT WAS THE CHANCE TO WRAP IT UP! Blum in miles of space, loads of time, drives through on goal but shoots over! ARGH
90' | Freekick Aue. 35 yards out. Comes to nothing.
90+' | 4 MINUTES ADDED TIME. FOUR.
90+' | Ganvoula drives through, stopped! AHH! Another chances bites the dust. Tesche stops Aue countering though; he's been heroic today in midfield.
FT' | GOALLLLL VfL!!!! 2-0!! Own goal with the last kick of the game, and thanks to Samson’s deflection off Zoller’s cross VfL wrap up their first clean sheet and second home win of the season!!
FT: And it's over! VfL remain undefeated at home and push up the table with a second home win, relief and joy washing over the fans and players at full-time. 17 points now; it takes the Blau-Weißen up to 13th in 2. Bundesliga. We go again though next week; Matchday 16 sees us travel to SpVgg. Greuther Fürth (next Saturday, 1pm CET). Reis will have to contend with a new challenge thouhg; replacing the ever-present and now-suspended skipper Losilla, who received his fifth yellow card of the season in today’s fixture.