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Nkunku secures flattering win


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A bitter Sunday afternoon for VfL Bochum 1848. Against Leipzig, Thomas Reis’ team once again put in a courageous performance creating a series of great chances, especially in the second half. In the end, however, a stroke of genius by substitute Nkunku decided the game. Flattering for Leipzig, annoying for the Boys in Blue.

On the 24th match day of the Bundesliga, VfL Bochum 1848 played the first of three important matches in six days after our 1-1 draw away at VfB Stuttgart. The visitors were big guns and last season’s runners-up Leipzig in front of 10,000 spectators at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion. Head coach Thomas Reis made four changes compared to the last match. Sebastian Polter played in the central striker’s position in place of Jürgen Locadia. Elvis Rexhbecaj returned to the starting line-up after suspension replacing Patrick Osterhage. Takuma Asano and Eduard Löwen also returned to the starting eleven, while Gerrit Holtmann and Christopher Antwi-Adjei remained on the bench for the time being.

This is how the game went:

1′ The ball is rolling. Let’s go, Boys in Floodlight Blue!

2′ Poulsen with the first action in this match when the Leipzig striker breaks through and crosses into the box but Riemann is there.

6′ Leipzig have more possession and are trying to take control of the game. But VfL are defensively stable.

7′ Bella Kotchap clashes with Mukiele. The Leipzig player stays down for a long time, but comes back to life miraculously.

9′ Good long ball to Löwen wins the first corner for the Blue-and-Whites.

10′ Löwen’s corner kick comes in too low, no danger.

13′ Now VfL are taking the initiative. Asano is released and wins the next corner. Pantovic and Polter show a nice one-two on the ensuing corner kick, but Leipzig keeper Gulasci punches the ball away

14′ Gamboa shoots with confidence from 25 yards, and why not? He scored a dream goal against Bayern. This time, however, it goes well over.

18′ Bella Kotchap wins in a duel before booting the ball high into the air – the ball actually comes to rest on the roof of the stadium.

20′ VfL Bochum’s high pressing line is effective. Löwen intercepts a pass from Gulasci, but unfortunately nothing more comes of the situation.

22′ First really dangerous attack by the visitors. Leitsch clears under pressure and Poulsen’s second-time header misses the target.

23′ How beautifully played is that! Asano’s back heel to Löwen, who releases our Japanese lad

24′ The corner is taken short. Löwen then makes a strong run and brings in a sharp cross, but unfortunately there is no taker.

25′ “RB” counter-attack – Leitsch puts Poulsen under pressure, but in the end Gamboa breaks up the attack.

30′ Leipzig often look for Poulsen with long balls, but the Danish striker is beaten to the ball by the VfL defence time and time again.

34′ There is still no real flow to the game on this Sunday afternoon. Both teams can’t find the right solutions and neutralise each other.

35′ Typical of the first 35 minutes – the visitors hit a long ball to Poulsen, but Leitsch intercepts it.

37′ Poulsen remains on the ground after a harmless tackle – not for the first time. He receives plenty of boos from the Bochum supporters.

43′ Angelino almost had a free shot – but Gamboa sticks out his foot at the last moment. Great block!

The score is 0-0 going into the break. Fair, because neither team was able to take control of the game. The visitors had the more dangerous chances to score, but none of them could overcome the strong VfL defence. The outcome of the game is totally open.

46′ The ball is rolling again. No changes on either side.

50′ Lovely attack down the left side by VfL. Löwen, Pantovic and Polter play their way through, partly with dainty backheel passes. In the end, they win a corner.

50′ Sharp corner by Löwen, but Gulasci is there.

54′ Rexhbecaj hits a good shot, which is just a bit too central.

55′ Dangerous move by the visitors. Orban is unmarked after a free kick, but cannot control the ball.

56′ Big chance for VfL! Pantovic shoots from around 20 yards after Asano has done the groundwork but misses narrowly.

58′ Rexhbecaj tries again from distance, but misses.

59′ Three changes by the visitors: Silva, Nkunku and Olmo come on for Poulsen, Szoboszlai and Adams.

61′ The Boys in Blue play their way out of Leipzig’s pressing. Rexhbecaj tries to put Polter through but Gulasci comes out of his box early and kicks the ball away.

65′ Nkunku changes sides with a high pass. Forsberg tries a volley, but doesn’t hit the ball properly.

67′ Sending on attackers worth tens of millions has given “RB” some impetus. Nevertheless, VfL continue to defend well.

70′ Almost the lead for the boys from the Castroper Strasse! After a corner, our skipper rises to head the ball on goal, but it bounces off the crossbar.

72′ Thomas Reis also makes a triple change. Locadia, Holtmann and Antwi-Adjei enter the pitch for Polter, Asana and Pantovic.

73′ The subs fit in straight away. Locadia holds on to the ball. Löwen then tries to find Holtmann but his pass is too heavy.

74′ Locadia causes problems for the “RB” defence. He feints, delays, then shoots. It is cleared for a corner.

77′ The lead for VfL seems to be in the air. First Antwi-Adjei hits the post, then Löwen gets to the rebound but a Leipzig player blocks it. Victory is a real possibility!

82′ This is bitter. In a strong Blue-and-White phase, the visitors take the lead. Nkunku scores – 0-1.

85′ Rexhbecaj takes a shot that flies just over the Leipzig goal.

85′ Fourth change by VfL Bochum with Blum coming on for Löwen.

87′ Gamboa sees a yellow card for a tactical foul on Nkunku.  Leipzig would have been through there.

90′ There are only three minutes added. In view of Leipzig’s penchant for falling over and rolling around, this is way too little.

90’+3 We can’t get into the box anymore and Leipzig take the points here.

End: Whoah, that’s tough. The single goal is enough for Leipzig, who couldn’t have complained about a defeat here. The VfL fans appreciate that their players have done everything they can. Still, the team from Saxony is not our favourite opponent.  On Wednesday evening, the DFB Cup quarter-final will take place when SC Freiburg comes to


Nkunku secures flattering win

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