VfL Bochum 1848 could not defeat Union Berlin in their last match of the year. Max Kruse’s early goal was the only one of the game, with Milos Pantovic was unfortunate to see his shot hit the underside of the bar. At the end of a successful year that brought the Boys in Blue promotion, VfL Bochum stand on 20 points after the first half of the season.
In front of 13,500 fans at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion, VfL head coach Thomas Reis made three changes from the defeat at Arminia Bielefeld introducing Maxim Leitsch, Konstantinos Stafylidis and Patrick Osterhage in his starting debut for Vasilios Lampropoulos, Cristian Gamboa and the newly injured Gerrit Holtmann.
Erhan Masovic, who extended his contract until 2025 midweek, had a first opportunity from a free-kick by Stafylidis but his header was missing the necessary power in the 5th minute.
Just a minute later, former Bochum boy Andreas Luthe rushed out of his box and brought down the chasing Antwi-Adjei as well as his own defender but, not for the last time this afternoon, referee Tobias Reichel saw no reason to blow his whistle.
The game was mainly being played in midfield with both teams wrestling for control until, in the 16th minute, Max Kruse scored with a spectacular strike from the edge of the box from Unions’s first shot of the match. The visitors used their momentum and two minutes later, Becker’s shot from the right required a good save by Manuel Riemann.
In the 20th minute Masovic was shown the yellow card for a foul on Kruse in midfield – it was his first infringement of the match.
VfL Bochum now had most of the possession but Union came close in the 33th minute when Awoniyi narrowly missed the ball after some great link-up play. Six minutes later Prömel’s shot was excellently blocked by Soares, and another two minutes later Oczipka broke through down the left but his shot sailed over the bar.
The first chance of the second half fell to the visitors again when Awoniyi was put through and seemed certain to score when Masovic put in a great tackle to steer the ball away in the 51st minute. The ensuing corner was headed down to the edge of the six-yard box where Prömel fortunately ballooned the ball over the bar.
Down the other end, Stafylidis hit a swerving shot from 25 yards which Luthe had to push away for a corner. This signalled the start of a period of increased pressure by the hosts, and in the 55th minute, Osterhage put Polter through on the right but the latter one’s cross did not find Antwi-Adjei because Luthe was on his guard.
In the 59th minute, Rexhbecaj drilled the ball at goal from a distance and Luthe could only block it. Pantovic reacted quickly and got to the ball first but had to hit it on the bounce before seeing his effort sail over the bar.
In the 60th minute, Thomas Reis sent on Herbert Bockhorn for Stafylidis to create more pressure down the right wing, four minutes later Union introduced Behrens and Haraguchi for Awoniyi and Becker.
In the 75th minute, Thomas Reis brought on all the remaining fire-power from the bench in Ganvoula and Novothny who took the places of Antwi-Adjei and Osterhage. It took Novothny just three minutes to receive the ball in a dangerous position but he lost his footing and his shot trickled wide.
In the 79th minute, VfL Bochum were oh so close when a cutback found Pantovic who got his shot in under pressure but saw it rebound from the underside of the bar. Polter’s ensuing header just did not have enough power.
VfL Bochum were throwing everything forward with Union happy to sit back and doing their utmost to run down the clock. It all came to nothing as VfL Bochum just could not find the net but the home support still gave the team a standing ovation after the final whistle for everything they have achieved so far.
On Sunday, 9th January, at 5:30 pm, VfL Bochum 1848 will host VfL Wolfsburg at Castroper Strasse to try and add to the 20 points so far.