This was a bitter pill for the Boys in Blue to swallow. After being in control of their first match of the season for 84 minutes with goals coming from Zulj and Zoller, VfL Bochum allowed St Pauli a share of the points due to a last-gasp brace by Kyereh.
There was a festive atmosphere all around the Vonovia Ruhrstadion yesterday with Castroper Strasse leading up to the ground adorned in blue-and-white flags and banners. On top of this, a limited number of fans were admitted into the stadium with 3,500 home fans supporting VfL Bochum 1848.
VfL head coach Thomas Reis stuck with his starting XI from the cup win over FV Engers with three changes to the squad: Thomas Eisfeld was missing due to injury and Tom Weilandt and new transfer Raman Chibsah didn’t make it into the match day squad while new buys Herbert Bockhorn and Soma Novothny as well as youngster Armel Bella-Kotchap all made it onto the bench.
St Pauli coach Timo Schulz changed his line-up from the cup defeat to Elversberg in four positions, bringing in Daniel Buballa, Jannes Wieckhoff, Rodrigo Zalazar and former VfL player Rico Benatelli in place of Boris Tashchy, Afeez Aremu, Philipp Ziereis and Marvin Senger.
Both teams were intent on going forward with some dangerous scenes in either box. On ten minutes, Ohlssson was shown the first yellow card of the match for a cynical foul on Gerrit Holtmann who seemed through with lots of space in front of him after a great ball by Maxim Leitsch.
VfL Bochum now were clearly in the driving seat with Ganvoula being too surprised to properly connect with a cross by Zoller after 15 minutes and Losilla playing keepy-uppy 35 yards from goal before letting fly just a minute later. The next chance came from a corner-kick by Zulj, which Leitsch couldn’t get his foot to at the far post.
Finally, in the 26 minute, Zulj gave VfL Bochum the lead by curling in a free-kick from the left corner of the penalty box – what a strike! The hosts were absolutely in control stringing passes together and counter-pressing when necessary with Gerrit Holtmann displaying amazing bursts of speed time and again. St Pauli had to resort to some very physical tackling and consequently earned another yellow card when Avevor brought down Zulj right before the half-time interval which saw VfL Bochum with a well-deserved lead.
The game continued in the same vein with Paçarada picking up a yellow for a foul on Zoller and VfL Bochum exerting pressure and threatening especially from Zulj set-pieces. After 66 minutes Holtmann and Ganvoula linked up brilliantly with the latter back-heeling the ball to Holtmann whose low shot hit the outside of the goal net. St Pauli did not give in, though, and just four minutes later Becker took the ball off Ganvoula before lobbing it into the path of Kyereh who was blocked at the very last moment.
In the 76 minute the game seemed to be over for St Pauli when Soares won the ball and passed it to Holtmann who played a through-ball for Ganvoula. From the goal-line, our Congolese striker pulled back a pin-point cross for Simon Zoller to slot home with ease. Great play!
St Pauli coach Schultz threw everything forward now with Daschner and Zander replacing Dittgen and Wieckhoff and, just three minutes later, Ziereis and Lankford coming on for Avevor and Ohlsson. His opposite number, Thomas Reis, introduced fresh attacking legs in Bonga and Blum in place of the convincing Zoller and Holtmann.
The Pauli substitutions seemed to be doing the trick when an unusual Lampropoulos blunder gifted the ball to substitute Daschner, whose shot was blocked by Riemann only for Kyereh to smash it in from close range on 84 minutes. Just two minutes later, the same player made it a double by utilising a huge gap in the Bochum centre of defence – 2-2.
Despite great chances for Bochum through Tesche from a through-ball by Zulj and for Pauli through Kyereh again, the score remained 2-2 and left a bitter taste in the mouths of all VfL Bochum supporters after a match that seemed to be going our way for 84 minutes.
Thomas Reis (manager VfL Bochum): „We’ve seen a match in which my team set the tone for a good 80 minutes. Even in the first half, more would have been possible. We deservedly led 2-0 but then things fell apart. I had the feeling that we tried to manage the result instead of going for the third goal, we reacted instead of acting. In the end, we gave both goals we conceded away easily. The organization was not well at all and you could even lose a game like this. That, of course, would have been the worst case. It already hurts as we actually deserved the win today. Respect to St Pauli for not gibing up. We have to take the good and look ahead even when it feels like a defeat today. But we will not let that get us down.”
Timo Schultz (manager FC St Pauli): “Generally, I believe that my team is capable of everything and I think that we were still in the game even with being 2-0 down. We deserved the draw as we kept on playing forward. We could have even scored the third goal but that might have been a bit too much in the end. Our defensive players showed a good performance and kept Bochum’s attackers under control for most of the time. The course of the game can give us a boost, even if we would have preferred a win.”
Gerrit Holtmann (VfL Bochum 1848): “The back and forth fro the 82nd minute onwards must not happen to us. Pauli could even have won, but on the other hand we also had the chance to score the winner. We are 2-0 in the lead in front of our fans and we wanted to reward them for their coming. What a bitter evening. We want to make it better in Karlsruhe next week. The fans were amazing. The lads created a special atmosphere – that was great and certainly was missing over the last months.”
Robert Žulj (VfL Bochum 1848): „In the closing minutes, we lost the order and control of the match. At the end of the day, St Pauli could even have won the game. We have fallen into the old pattern of last season – something we have to put right as soon as possible. I had the feeling that we would bring this win home safely. Maybe we were too sure to keep the three points in Bochum. Then something like today happens. We are a good team. But that also means that we have to get this sort of thing done. In Karlsruhe, we want to continue with what we showed in the first 80 minutes.”
Simon Zoller (VfL Bochum 1848): “We played very well for 80 minutes, let the ball run great and created enough chances to decide the game early. We were in control but then we made mistakes that should not happen to us. The last ten minutes were sheer chaos and we gave the game away. We even could have easily lost it. That’s brutally annoying as we clearly had to bring the game home. It’s great to have the fans back on the terraces. But that makes it even more annoying that we weren’t able to gain the three points. We will build on the first 80 minutes and give everything again next week.