Stunning at VfL: Bochum first falls to Tuchel and then into a major crisis

Stunning at VfL
Bochum first plunges Tuchel and then into a major crisis

Not only the fans, but also the team and coach of VfL Bochum are deeply frustrated after the 2-2 draw against Darmstadt 98. The ongoing negative series is leaving its mark on the Revierklub and causing concerns to grow. There’s a key game coming up next week.

VfL Bochum’s game against SV Darmstadt this Sunday evening began with two claps of thunder. Just in time for kick-off, a powerful thunderstorm poured over the Ruhrstadion and after less than three minutes, coach Thomas Letsch’s team was already 0-1 behind. Oscar Vilhelmsson stole free from the hosts’ defense, which was airy to the point of not being sorted at all, and completed a great counterattack. The only problem: he had previously been offside. The goal was therefore not recognized. This was a successful warning for the people of Bochum. They were the dominant team until the 60th minute, leading 2-0 – but in the end they didn’t leave the field as winners for the fifth time in a row (previously four defeats). Afterwards they no longer understood the world and struggled with their own inability.

The relegation peak ended with 2:2 between the 15th place in the table, who once again failed to clearly distance themselves from the threatening ranks, and the bottom of the table, who are once again drawing strength from their great morale for the remaining seven games. Striker Philipp Hofmann, who had been very unfortunate for a long time this season, had given VfL a clear lead with his brace (29th/48th), but Tim Skarke (62nd) and Vilhelmsson (76th) had an unfortunate save from Manuel Riemann secured a deserved point for the promoted team. Because after an hour the team had rebelled, knowing they had nothing left to lose, and started running wildly, completely unsettling the Bochum team, who until then had everything under control, and retreating back into the uncomfortable swamp of the league.

When referee Sven Jablonski blew the whistle for the game, there was great disappointment. Riemann threw himself on the grass, just wanted to be alone and a little later he wanted to tear his jersey. Captain Anthony Losilla buried his face behind his jersey and there was pure horror in the stands. In the home arena, the Bochum team had once again given away a game that they should never give away. The evil spirits of the memory of the bitter last-minute horrors against Mainz, Bremen and Augsburg had returned to the Ruhrstadion. If this team had the strength and self-confidence to regularly finish the things they start doing, they would have been through with the issue of staying in the league long ago.

“It’s rattling in my head”

“The only thing we learned from the game is that we are in the middle of a relegation battle,” said a completely satisfied coach Thomas Letsch. “That does something to you,” Letsch admitted: “It makes your head rattle. The situation is dangerous.” Just a few weeks ago the situation was rosy. The Bochum team had sensationally defeated FC Bayern, who then decided to part ways with coach Thomas Tuchel in the summer. But since then nothing has worked together at VfL. Also because the team then had to struggle with major injury problems for the first time. But above all because she has recently lost the great intensity with which she played inspiring games this season, including against VfB Stuttgart.

Everything had gone well for a long time that evening. The intensity was high and the game was courageously forward-looking. Hofmann’s first goal after a corner and a lightning-fast reaction from the striker turned the first big phase of pressure into something countable. And straight after the break the giant was there again with a strong header. Central defender Keven Schlotterbeck took advantage of an unfortunate rescue operation by ex-Bochum player Gerrit Holtmann, who had just been substituted, who had stopped the ball in front of the line in a full sprint, but was then no longer able to brake himself and left the play equipment exposed, and crossed it to Hofmann.

Instead of 3:0 it’s suddenly 2:1

Particularly bitter that evening: Immediately before Skarke had shortened for Darmstadt, the Bochum team left the score 3-0. The tireless Christopher Antwi-Adjei broke through on the left and ran towards keeper Marcel Schuhen, but his attempt from a shot or cross was not as dangerous as it could have been. Instead, the goal followed, flooding Darmstadt with energy and pulling the plug on VfL. In a moment the game, which had previously been orchestrated by the outstanding Kevin Stöger, collapsed. But in the wild whirlwind of the Darmstadt team, who had gone all-in with offensive substitutions, the hosts found themselves in turmoil and were lucky that Klaus Gjasula missed two chances to win.

The three points were once again within reach for VfL. Losilla failed due to shoes after great preparatory work from Stöger. A little later, Lukas Daschner did the same before Moritz Broschinski shot past. “Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to make a big step again. It will definitely be seven intensive weeks in which our main goal of staying in the league will be at stake right up to the end,” Letsch said angrily. And Stöger decided that the team was right to be where it is because of the missed opportunities.

“Achieving relegation is our championship”

The situation in the basement is still stable for the Bochum team. Six points still separate the Revierklub from the relegation place. Lurking there is FSV Mainz 05, who surprisingly picked up a point at RB Leipzig at the weekend. But the cushion is deceptive: “They can be gone in two weeks,” warned defender Bernardo. The next direct basement duel will take place at 1. FC Cologne on the next match day, with Mainz meeting Darmstadt at the same time. There is no more showdown in the relegation battle. The guests from Hesse see themselves well prepared for this after the point “Anne Castroper”: “It’s really great for us not to play as losers against Mainz 05, but with this one point,” said the one from his team impressed coach Torsten Lieberknecht: “Achieving relegation is our championship. We are stubborn and sticking with it.”

In the corner, the footballers were celebrated by their own followers, who had come in large numbers – with the Icelandic huh-huh cult cheer. Things looked different before the east curve. There were occasional whistles, but also encouraging applause. A fan stood in front of the players and spoke to them like a dervish. But it was obviously an incendiary speech of motivation and not anger, as striker Hofmann later explained. The fact that he couldn’t cheer on this evening, which had finally been a really good one for him, annoyed him enormously: “We can never give that away,” he said on DAZN: “In the end, we can still be happy that “We get a point. It’s just annoying.” He gave himself and his colleagues an important homework assignment for the next few weeks: “We simply have to learn to decide a game like this beforehand.”

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