The 2. Bundesliga is finally back! Our winter break ends tomorrow evening and VfL have an exciting task ahead: a game at the current league leaders Arminia Bielefeld. Here’s a look at our upcoming opponents.
Bielefeld, the city which supposedly doesn’t exist. It’s actually located in north eastern North-Rhein-Westphalia, near the Teutoburg Forest. With 330,000 inhabitants, Bielefeld is one of the 20 biggest cities in Germany and can already look back on over 800 years of history.
Bielefeld’s SchucoArena has a 26,515 capacity, including 8,005 standing places. Last season their average attendance at home games was 19,127, putting Bielefeld slightly ahead of VfL eighth overall in the league- VfL's average attendance at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion is around 17,750.
On 14th April 1905, 14 men met in a restaurant in the old Bielefeld city hall and decided to create a football club separate from the local social club, Terpsichore. An application for this separation had been placed a year before, but this was rejected as football was seen to be unrefined. On 3rd May 1905, the football club Arminia Bielefeld was founded.
The Golden Years
Arminia’s most successful period came nearly 40 years ago; between 1980 and 1985 the club played continuously in the Bundesliga. In both 1982 and 1983 they achieved their all-time highest placing as a club, 6th. After this, they spent a few years across the second and third divisions, only regaining their seat at Germany’s top table in 1996/97. After repeated promotions and relegations they played another five straight seasons in the Bundesliga between 2004 and 2009.
As a player, Uwe Neuhaus had his breakout when he transferred to SG Wattenscheid 09 in the 2. Bundesliga. In his first season the club gained promotion to the Bundesliga. Over the next 4 seasons him and his Wattenscheid side held their own in the top division. After their relegation in 1994, Neuhaus played one last season in the 2. Bundesliga before hanging up his boots. After retirement, Neuhaus stayed at the club and took over management over their second team. He was hired by VfB Huls, before becoming the assistant manager of Borussia Dortmund. In 2005, Neuhaus continued his career path onto Rot-Weiss Essen. After this, he managed FC. Union Berlin. With the ‘Iron Ones’ he even celebrated winning the 3. Liga. He also celebrated promotion to the 2. Bundesliga with Dynamo Dresden, who he coached 116 matches for between 2015 and 2018. The 59-year-old has been manager of Arminia since 10th December 2018 and currently has a remarkable point average of 1.87 a game. Arminia have only lost seven matches under his management.
The state of play
VfL and Arminia have met 48 times before. Bochum have won 19 times, drawn 15 and unfortunately lost 14 times. The last time the two sides face the game ended in a spectacular 3-3 game – having gone 2-0 down VfL took a 3-2 lead until shortly before the end. An unlucky own goal courtesy of captain Anthony Losilla's outstretched foot in the last minute saw it end 3-3.
The story so far
Uwe Neuhaus’ XI are the surprise package of the season for a lot of football fans. It isn’t HSV, VfB or FCN who sit at the top of the table, but Arminia Bielefeld. With an impressive record in the first half of the season of nine wins, seven draws and only two losses, Arminia secured the league lead over the winter break. That defeat, 3-0 against St. Pauli in the last game before the winter break, did not detract from the good atmosphere around the club. So far, Bielefeld have been particularly convincing away from home: they’ve had seven wins on the road – better than any other team in the league. At home things have run less smoothly; they’ve only picked up the full points twice, drawn five and lost to VfB Stuttgart 1-0.
Anything but a good start to the new calendar year. VfL Bochum 1848 lost their away match in Bielefeld 2-0. Arminia forwards Voglsammer (27') and Klos (90+3') scored the goals to consign VfL to defeat. Bochum had to play the last few minutes of the game with ten men after 'keeper Manuel Riemann was shown two yellow cards in quick succession.
A floodlit fixture, derby time, and the first game after the winter break! VfL Bochum 1848 are the guests against league leaders DSC Arminia Bielefeld. VfL head coach Thomas Reis decided to field the same starting 11 that began their last friendly against KFC Uerdingen: Cristian Gamboa, Saulo Decarli, Patrick Fabian and Danilo Soares were the back four in front of goalkeeper Manuel Riemann. Robert Tesche, Anthony Losilla, Vitaly Janelt and Chung Yong Lee formed a midfield diamond with Danny Blum and Silvère Ganvoula up front.
1’: The game has only just kicked off and already we have a treatment break: Soares has been hurt but fortunately he is able to get to his feet quickly. Brunner sees a yellow card for the foul.
3’: Gamboa with a nice cross from the right flank towards the box. Decarli meets it, but it’s no problem for Ortega.
10‘: VfL have had a good start here. They are in control of the match and our playing the ball around well. A cross from Soares finds Ganvoula, but the striker is offside.
13’: Corner from the right, Blum crosses the ball into the box, but a defender clears the danger.
18’: Good opportunity for the home side: Luckily, Clauss' cross sails just over the crossbar.
22’: The second yellow card of the match: Yabo gets a yellow for a handball.
27’: Goal. The hosts take the lead. Hartel takes a free kick from the left side into the box. Voglsammer rushes in and smashes home the knockdown.
30’: Next free kick for Bielefeld after a foul by Fabian, who sees a yellow for it. Hartherz puts the ball into the goalmouth from more than twenty yard - but luckily it gets blocked in the wall.
40’: VfL seem to have recovered a little from the shock and now have more possession again. There’ve been no further scoring opportunities and chances remain slim.
44’: Lee also gets a yellow card because he is late on Nielsson.
45’: And the next yellow card, this time for Gamboa. The Coast Rican is penalised for a foul against Voglsammer.
45’: Four minutes on top in the first half.
45’ + 4: Free kick for VfL, Blum tries it directly, but Ortega is on the spot and saves without any problems.
45’+5: Another yellow card for Bochum - this time Decarli. Arminia counterattack quickly, the Swiss stops Klos on the edge of the box in a dangerous position. Luckily Voglsammer’s shot is cleared from the wall at the expense of a corner kick.
Halftime: There was only one scoring chance - and the Arminians promptly took advantage of it to make it 1-0. Despite good approaches, the blue-and-whites have not been able to create any danger upfront so far. In the second half, VfL will have to provide more offensive support.
46’: The second half will continue without a change of personnel.
50’: For a change, now a Bielefeld player is shown yellow: Prietl for a foul on Janelt.
52’: Chance for Bielefeld: Klos quickly passes to Clauss, who aims for the short corner - but Riemann reaches the ball.
53’: Yellow card for Klos, who knocks down Blum.
55’: This time Tesche sees the yellow card for hitting Yabo’s foot. It's already the ninth yellow card of the game.
59’: Bielefeld on the attack again: Voglsammer's shot, however, rushes over the crossbar - that was close.
62’: Head coach Thomas Reis makes his first change: Weilandt replaces for already booked Tesche.
63’: Bielefeld also makes a change: Edmundsson in for Yabo.
65’: Another close call: Edmundsson pulls one out of the turn from a good 15 metres and just misses the net by a narrow margin.
67’: Bielefeld again and it’s Voglsammer once more with a chance. His shot misses its aim by two metres.
68’: Second change for VfL: Lee out, Zoller in.
70’: Now VfL are in front of the opposing goal. A nice move by Weilandt is cleared to the expense of a corner - but it doesn't pay off.
78’: Full attacking power now at VfL: Gamboa leaves the pitch for Wintzheimer.
83’: Unbelievable! Riemann complains, sees yellow, doesn't stop: the second yellow card. For the last minutes Janelt takes his place between the sticks because VfL have already made their three possible changes.
89’: And Losilla also with the next yellow card.
90’: Six minutes are added on.
90’+3: 2-0 for Bielefeld - Klos is the goal scorer.
The final whistle: VfL lose their first competitive game in 2020 at the Bielefelder Alm with 0-2. Especially bitter: The sending-off of keeper Manuel Riemann, who will be missing the next match.
Thomas Reis (VfL Bochum 1848 head coach): Congratulations to Bielefeld. It’s disappointing for us. In the first half one could see that we made things very difficult for our opponents. We conceded thanks to a free kick to the back post, but apart from that I cannot remember Bielefeld being able to create any more chances. Naturally our attacking prowess suffered because we wanted to stay compact. We managed to do that well in the first half. After the break, we wanted to be braver with the ball. I had the feeling that if applied more pressure on our opponents, then we could have more control over the game, but it was also clear that our opponents would have more chances in the latter-stages of the game. Nonetheless, we had hoped to be able to go back home with a point. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do so. In the end you’d have to say that Bielefeld were worthy victors. Manuel Riemann’s red card certainly didn’t help things. He’s apologised to his teammates.
Uwe Neuhaus (DSC Arminia Bielefeld head coach): I am of course really happy. I think that we saw quite a typical game in the first half, in which both teams didn’t quite know exactly where they stand after a long winter break. Bochum were very focussed, and their defence was much more organised than in the first fixture this season. We controlled much of the ball, but we could only make very few goalscoring opportunities. That was why our 1-0 lead was very important. We had to not get anxious, even when it was 0-0. In the second half Bochum became more attacking, they brought on more attacking skill with their two changes. Nevertheless we didn’t let them have any real chances in the second half. The focussed performance from my side was impressive, they were very focussed and energetic. I had the feeling that we were always in the game and always had our foothold in the game. For us it’s been a successful start to 2020. I wish VfL all the best for the coming weeks.
Vitaly Janelt: We lost the opening game of the year and now we have a hard run of fixtures ahead of us. We must now all stick together, we’ve already said it often, it’s really important. We have to give absolutely everything for the whole 90minutes. Today was the first time for me that I’ve had to go in goal. I would have much preferred it if Manu had been able to get away with just a yellow card and that we could have ended the game with 11 men, so that we could have tried to pile on some pressure at the end.
Patrick Fabian: My assessment of today: We didn’t have to lose today. In the first half both sides cancelled each other out. Bielefeld certainly had more of the ball, but we didn’t allow them any chances. The free kick [that they scored from], that pinball goal really put a spanner in our works. From then on we are chasing the game. In our play our attacking play was a bit blunt, we were not involved enough.