Union swings back on course for Europe a week and a half after the Conference League. Match winner at 1-0 (1-0) in Bochum was Max Kruse.
A quarter of an hour before the end of the game, Max Kruse walked leisurely from the field and smiled contentedly to himself. The whistles of the Bochum spectators didn’t bother the ex-national player at all – he is on a real lucky streak at the moment. First the 33-year-old married his fiancée Dilaria, two days later he led Union Berlin to a 1-0 (1-0) victory at VfL Bochum – and one and a half weeks after the Conference League-off back on course for Europe.
“I was a bit surprised that the ball went so well,” said the match winner after the final whistle at Sky about his winning goal with a dropkick (16th), “that I hit him so well. But it was about time”. Thanks to the 33-year-old’s early goal, Union ended a slack with only two three-pointers from eight Bundesliga games and climbed back to sixth place.
For the promoted Bochum, on the other hand, a strong first half of the season ends with two defeats in a row – with 20 points, the Bundesliga returnee is still fully on target. “We wanted a good finish, of course, but we can still draw a positive conclusion,” said VfL striker Sebastian Polter: “We mustn’t let ourselves be dragged down now.”
First Bundesliga duel between Bochum and Union
Compared to the 2-0 defeat at Arminia Bielefeld, Bochum’s coach Thomas Reis had switched to three positions, including returning to the formation of 1-1 in the small Revierderby against Borussia Dortmund in defense. At Union, Kruse was back in the starting line-up after the break in the 0-0 draw against SC Freiburg.
In the first Bundesliga duel between the two long-time second division clubs, the Eiserne started more actively and tried to put VfL under pressure. Bochum waited for counter opportunities. This passivity took revenge: After a cross from Bastian Oczipka, Grischa Prömel headed the ball back, Kruse thrashed it into the corner.
The hosts tried to put aside their lethargy. But they did not find an effective offensive concept. The long balls on the head of the ex-Unioner Polter often landed on the opponent, without the sick Gerrit Holtmann the pace was lacking on the wing.
The five-man chain of the Berliners initially confidently intercepted all attack attempts. Andreas Luthe, who was between the posts for Bochum for 15 years, was largely unemployed against “his” VfL for a long time.
In the first minutes after the break, more happened in front of both goals than in the entire first half: First Erhan Masovic prevented the 0-2 (51st) with a tackle against Taiwo Awoniyi, then Prömel shot the ball over the goal in the Bochum six-yard box (52nd minute) .). Finally, Luthe also had to intervene for the first time in a long-range shot by Konstantinos Stafylidis (53rd).
Milos Pantovic had the greatest chance to equalize until then: After a shot by Elvis Rexhbecaj and an uncontrolled Luthe defense, the midfielder missed over the empty goal (59th). In the 80th minute, Pantovic had bad luck with a shot on the lower edge of the crossbar.
VfL Bochum – Union Berlin: The coach voices
Thomas Reis (coach VfL Bochum): “We had bigger problems in the first half. When we conceded we saw the quality of Max Kruse. It worked a little better in the second half. Union doesn’t give up many clear chances, then you have to use them, have that we didn’t make it. “
Urs Fischer (Union Berlin trainer): “A great, important victory for us, three important points that bring us a little closer to our goal. The first half clearly went to Union, so we had our opponents under control. The second half was an even game with phases in which Bochum pressed and was very close to equalizing. The necessary luck in the competition was on our side today. “