New VfL Bochum trainer Thomas Letsch will be hoping it is a case of second time lucky as his side host Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday after his baptism of fire last weekend against RB Leipzig. His former colleague from Red Bull Salzburg Marco Rose did him no favours in his first game in charge with die Roten Bullen cruising to a 4-0 win.
Life in the Bochum hotseat doesn’t however get any easier with Frankfurt the visitors this weekend fresh (or maybe not so fresh) from a decent Champions League point against Tottenham and a good win last weekend over league leaders Union Berlin.
Letsch will need to install belief in his new charges that they can get a result at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion as the longer the disappointing results go on, the lower confidence gets and a spiral of decline sets in. With just a single point (versus Köln) to their name this season, installing that belief will be a real challenge.
Eintracht will want to build upon their win last weekend, where they became the first side to inflict a Bundesliga defeat on Union Berlin and a win against struggling Bochum could actually push the Adler into the top four. Aside from the blip at home to Wolfsburg Frankfurt have won four of the last five league outings.
Fatigue will start to play a roll with midweek European and international fixtures taking place every week, but so far, the key players have kept their form and results have followed.
There may however be the distraction of transfer talk to deal with Jesper Lindstrom linked with Arsenal, and this week has seen the club admit it has received offers for defender Evan Ndicka and Daichi Kamada.
Trainer Thomas Letsch will have to do without Kevin Stöger, who has tested positive for Covid. Other absentees include Takuma Asano (ligament tear), Dominique Heintz (muscular issues), and striker Lys Mousset (illness). However, there is a possibility that Greek defender Konstantinos Stafylidis could return.
Possible line-up: Riemann, Masovic, Ordets, Oermann, Gamboa, Losilla, Goralski, Stafylidis, Zoller, Hofmann, Holtmann
Following the midweek Champions League exertions, it is likely that coach Oliver Glasner will rotate his squad for the trip to Bochum, although the suspension to Randal Kolo Muani for his red card does force his hand a little. Mario Götze is close to a return which is positive news for the Adler.
Possible line-up: Trapp, Jakic, Tuta, Ndicka, Lenz, Rode, Sow, Knauff, Pellegrini, Borré, Alario
What they’re saying:
Thomas Letsch: “Both offence and defence didn’t work in Leipzig, we didn’t perform well offensively and were poor defensively. That’s why we have room for improvement in all areas. We have worked on many points where we can start. Irrespective of all tactical and personal orientations, we want to show from the first minute on Saturday that we no longer present ourselves as we did in Leipzig.
“I’m really looking forward to being on the sidelines for the first time as VfL head coach at home. The atmosphere and football in the Ruhr area is something special. When we get the fans behind us here in the stadium, the atmosphere is simply extraordinary. But it’s entirely up to us to get the fans behind us. We want to set an example.
“Eintracht won the Europa League last year. They’ve been doing really well in the Champions League so far and have found stability in the Bundesliga. We have to be extremely careful with their switching moments, they bring a lot of speed with them.
“In addition, they are defensively very, very stable and have not conceded four games in a row. That will be very challenging for us. We have to give 100 percent of our performance on the pitch, only then can we beat Eintracht.
Oliver Glasner: “I’m expecting highly motivated opponents. Bochum are a very strong, physical team. I expect them to try to cause us problems with their quick forwards. We’re prepared for that.
“We can beat the leaders and lose to the bottom side in our next match. In Bochum, we’ll also go into the game feeling mentally fresh and motivated. I never look at where a team are in the table. We need wins and positive memories in order to stay fresh, which is why I think the last few weeks have done us a lot of good. Now we’re looking forward to an away match in front of 25,000 fans.”
01.10.22 RB Leipzig (a) 4-0 L (Bundesliga)
18.09.22 Köln (h) 1-1 D (Bundesliga)
10.09.22 Schalke (a) 3-1 L (Bundesliga)
03.09.22 Werder Bremen (h) 0-2 L (Bundesliga)
26.08.22 Freiburg (a) 1-0 L (Bundesliga)
04.10.22 Tottenham (h) 0-0 D (Champions League)
01.10.22 Union Berlin (h) 2-0 W (Bundesliga)
17.09.22 VfB Stuttgart (a) 1-3 W (Bundesliga)
13.09.22 Marseille (a) 0-1 W (Champions League)
10.09.22 VfL Wolfsburg (h) 0-1 L (Bundesliga)
The corresponding fixture last season coincidentally also came on matchday 9 and saw Bochum triumph 2-0. Danny Blum opened the scoring in the third minute before Goncalo Paciencia missed a penalty for Frankfurt. The win was sealed in second half stoppage time with a goal from Sebastian Polter.
Players to watch:
Gerrit Holtmann will lead the line as usual for Bochum and although he has yet to find the back of the net so far this season, but for a player of his skill and invention it should only be a matter of time. Whether that time is on Saturday remains to be seen, but trainer Letsch would certainly be happy if it was.
The absence of Randal Kolo Muani will give Rafael Borré the chance to shine in the Frankfurt attack and add to the penalty he scored against RB Leipzig. Chances might be at a premium this season and with competition from Lucas Alario, the Colombian will need to impress when he is given the opportunity.