VfL Bochum vs. Borussia Dortmund

VfL Bochum host Borussia Dortmund on Friday evening in a match that could have huge implications at both ends of the Bundesliga table.

Bochum head into the encounter only one place above the relegation zone, while Dortmund replaced Bayern Munich at the summit last weekend.

Match preview

VfL Bochum's Kevin Stoger scores their first goal from the penalty spot on February 8, 2023

After only collecting two points from their last four matches, Bochum are looking nervously over their shoulders heading into the last five games of the campaign as they look to avoid relegation for the second successive season.

Thomas Letsch has worked wonders to guide Die Unabsteigbaren outside of the relegation places since taking over from Thomas Reis last September, having arrived at the club with them on just one point from their opening seven games.

However, the former Vitesse Arnhem boss will be desperate for his players not to fall at one of the final hurdles across the coming weeks, with their previously perfect home form during the 54-year-old’s first five league games deserting them in more recent times, culminating in a 5-1 defeat at home to Wolfsburg last time out.

Indeed, Bochum have now lost five of their last six matches at Vonovia-Ruhrstadion, including a 2-1 defeat to their forthcoming opponents – and the league leaders – in the DFB-Pokal in early February.

Letsch’s side had been level in that cup tie until Marco Reus’s 70th-minute strike, suggesting that they can keep things tight once again on Friday as they look to do themselves and Bayern a massive favour by achieving a positive result.

Borussia Dortmund team huddle before the match on April 5, 2023

Given that Schalke 04 trail Bochum by three points in the table, Dortmund may well have their fiercest rivals cheering them on against one of Schalke’s main relegation rivals, as Edin Terzic’s side move closer to a historic title triumph.

After conceding a last-gasp equaliser to Stuttgart in their previous match to miss out on leapfrogging Bayern at the top of the table – with the Bavarians simultaneously also dropping points against Hoffenheim – BVB could not afford to repeat that mistake when witnessing Thomas Tuchel’s side fall to a 3-1 defeat to Mainz 05 last Saturday afternoon.

Hosting Eintracht Frankfurt in the Saturday evening kickoff slot, Dortmund came out of the tracks hard and fast at the Westfalenstadion, with Jude Bellingham displaying leadership beyond his tender years to fire his side into the lead after only 19 minutes.

Donyell Malen appears to have found his stride at the best possible moment in the season, with the Netherlands forward bagging himself a brace either side of Mats Hummels’s strike to secure a comfortable 4-0 victory for the hosts, which sparked jubilant scenes across the city.

However, Terzic will be keen to keep his players’ feet on the ground, especially as they may never have a better opportunity of ending Bayern’s relentless streak of titles at the elite level of German football. Should they navigate their way beyond Bochum on Friday, they will have taken a huge step closer to achieving their ultimate goal considering that three of their final four matches will take place on their home patch.

Team News

Borussia Dortmund's Julian Brandt walks off the pitch to be substituted after sustaining an injury on March 7, 2023

Bochum will remain without Keven Schlotterbeck and Marko Johansson due to muscular issues, while Philipp Forster is a major doubt after missing his side’s recent defeat to Wolfsburg with an Achilles tendon injury.

Letsch is likely to make a few changes after being thrashed by Niko Kovac’s side in their last match, with Cristian Gamboa, Takuma Asano and Pierre Kunde all leading candidates to come into the hosts’ starting XI.

Dortmund, meanwhile, appear to have lost Nico Schlotterbeck for the rest of the campaign after the defender suffered a tendon injury against Frankfurt. The defender was competing in his first match since being withdrawn against Bayern earlier this month due to a different issue.

Niklas Sule replaced his compatriot against Oliver Glasner’s side and should be fit enough to start alongside Hummels, but Thomas Meunier, Julien Duranville and Mateu Morey will all remain sidelined.

Terzic is unlikely to make any other alterations after dispatching Frankfurt so convincingly, but the likes of Reus, Giovanni Reyna and Youssoufa Moukoko will all be waiting patiently to make an impact from the bench should they be called upon at any stage.

VfL Bochum possible starting lineup:
Riemann; Gamboa, Masovic, Ordets, Soares; Kunde, Losilla, Osterhage; Asano, Hofmann, Antwi-Adjei

Borussia Dortmund possible starting lineup:
Kobel; Ryerson, Sule, Hummels, Guerreiro; Bellingham, Can, Brandt; Malen, Haller, Adeyemi

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