There’s probably no other opponent in Germany who needs a shorter introduction than our upcoming opponents. We’ll do it anyway. VfL will be playing away against FC Bayern Munich. Record champions, record cup winners, never ending superlatives, all in the same week after they breezed past Barcelona. Learn more in this week’s LOOK AHEAD!
First of all, let’s talk about Robert Lewandowski, most probably the best striker on planet football currentl, Manuel Neuer who changed the definition of goalkeeping, the evergreen Thomas Müller - let’s not forget Leon Goretzka. He played in all youth teams and finally made it into the professional football business, has already become a first team regular – which is not only true at Bayern, but also for the German national team. The midfielder, who has undergone a physical transformation and has really added strength during the Covid lockdown, is still a regular guest here in Bochum. Goretzka –Champions League winner as well as German champion and DFB-Pokal winner – is also very active off the pitch. He is highly informed and opinionated in various social topics, furthermore his campaign "WeKickCorona", which he initiated together with Joshua Kimmich, is doing great work. He is a role model for many youth players in the VfL academy. But there are a few new face at Bayern that Leon will have to get to know. The club signed new players as required, such as Dayot Upamecano and Marcel Sabitzer joined from RB Leipzig. Sven Ulreich also returned to Munich as a reserve goalkeeper. Looking at the players who left the club, there was a great change. The contracts of long-term players like Alaba, Boateng and Martinez were not extended. FCB’s look is different now – but still successful.
THE HEAD COACH
Besides the player transfers, there is also a new head coach - something that seemed to be in fashion this summer. Julian Nagelsmann most likely became Bayern Head Coach even earlier than many experts had tipped him to. His predecessor Hansi Flick is now Germany’s national coach, where he still welcomes the majority of his former players. Nagelsmann has had a good start into the season after a turbulent pre-season, where several of his key players were side-lined. Friendlies against Gladbach (1-1) and Cologne (3-2) showed room for improvement, but then FCB proved their common domination against Hertha (5-0), Leipzig (4-1) and Barcelona (3-0). Nagelsmann’s impressive rise continues. This season is the 34-year-old’s sixth season as a Head Coach. He led relegation strugglers Hoffenheim into the Europa League, established Leipzig as a ‘big five’ team and reached the DFB-Pokal final. Now he’s joined Bayern, where will his journey take him?
To be honest, we will not be facing our favourite opponents on Saturday. But that might be true for numerous other Bundesliga sides. The record shows 68 matches in the top league, with only eight victories for VfL. This is in contrast to Bayern’s 45 victories…however in two of the last four away games in Bavaria’s capital, VfL managed a point - just like the spectacular 3-3 draw in the 2008/09 season. There’s actually been only one away victory against FCB, when Heiko Bonan and Frank Benatelli scored in a 0-2 win back in 1991. Goalkeeper at that time was "the cat" Zumdick, VfL’s current assistant coach "Funny" Heinemann was on the pitch as well. So, time has come for a second win, don’t you think? We recently met in the DFB-Pokal, when Bayern visited the Ruhrstadion. We started well, after a brilliant assist by Danny Blum, Bayern player Davies scored an own goal in the first half. The odds-on favourite needed 83 minutes to equalise. In the very last minute it was Thomas Müller who sealed Bochum’s painful defeat. But VfL’s remarkable performance will only encourage the lads, as they prepare for a difficult trip this weekend.