2022-23 Report Cards: VfL Bochum

After a 13th place finish in their first season back in the Bundesliga the mission again this season was to keep their heads above water, and that is exactly what the Ruhr side achieved on the final matchday. Only Schalke were worse than Bochum in the Hinrunde, and many people had begun to write them off, but they ultimately proved the naysayers wrong.

In terms of bad starts to a season, Bochum’s this season can be considered as bad as it gets with six successive defeats to open things up. Eighteen goals were conceded with seven of them coming at home to Bayern alone. A 3-1 loss at Schalke on matchday six was the final straw for beleaguered coach Thomas Reis and he paid the price with his job. Interim Heiko Butscher oversaw a first point on the board against Köln, before Vitesse Arnhem trainer Thomas Letsch was handed the reins.

The new boss got a reaction and before the league paused for the World Cup four victories had been notched up against Eintracht Frankfurt, Union Berlin, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Augsburg. The Ruhr side however still spent the Winterpause in the bottom two with an uphill task in the Rückrunde to survive.

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They won two of their first four games back after the January restart, but then lost four on the trot and exited the DFB Pokal at the hands of Dortmund. Having got their first point of the season against Köln, they then beat the Billy Goats, and surprisingly also came out on top at home to RB Leipzig.  The wins then dried up and it wasn’t until matchday 32’s clash with Augsburg that they registered three points.

Luckily for them the teams around them at the bottom of the table were also unable to pull clear and so they went into the final game of the season with their destiny in their own hands sitting one point above Schalke in 17th and level on points with VfB Stuttgart in 15th.

A home game on the final day against Bayer Leverkusen beckoned and after an early red card for Amine Adli they stormed to a 3-0 win to send their passionate support into raptures. Augsburg’s loss and VfB’s draw saw them finish 14th just a point behind both Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen.


Well the final day win over Leverkusen to seal survival was the moment of greatest joy this season, but there were other highlights despite it being a season of struggle. The win over Champions League RB Leipzig was impressive as well as surprising, while matchday nine saw them beat another Champions League participant in Eintracht Frankfurt. The 5-2 win over Hoffenheim on matchday 19 was their biggest of the season.


The first six games couldn’t really have gone worse and the 7-0 mauling at the hands of Bayern was a chastening experience. October wasn’t a great month with a 4-0 defeat to Leipzig, a 4-1 loss to Stuttgart and a 4-0 loss at Wolfsburg. Mainz beat them 5-2 on matchday 18 while another heavy 5-1 defeat was suffered at home to Wolfsburg.

Tale of the Tape

Record: 10-5-19, 35 points (1.03 per game), 14th in Bundesliga

Home Record: 26 points (8-2-7) Away Record: 9 points (2-3-12)

Goals: 40 (1.18 per game), Goals Against: 72 (2.12 per game), Diff: -32

xG: 40.0, xGA: 65.7, Diff: -25.7


Only Schalke scored fewer goals than Bochum’s 40 this season, although they did score two more than in the previous campaign. Philipp Hofmann was their leading scorer with eight goals with Simon Zoller adding three. More often this season Bochum played with a 4-2-3-1 formation with a single out-and-out striker, but toyed with a 4-3-3 in the season run-in. Christopher Antwi-Adjei and Takuma Asano were the wide creative players in Bochum’s attack. In terms of goal quality one in particular stands out this season, Bochum’s second in their win over Union Berlin on matchday 10. Gerrit Holtmann got the final touch on a sweeping move that was counter-attacking one touch football at its very best.

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The 72 goals conceded meant that Bochum had the worst defence in the Bundesliga. We have already listed the heap of hammerings they received this season with it being all to easy to score against the Ruhr side.

Manuel Riemann faced the most shots on target and made the most saves which is not surprising considering the paper thin defence in front of him. Ivan Ordets and Erhan Masovic were the most-used centre backs with Danilo Soares a key fullback. Masovic even contributed four goals. Christian Gamboa missed a fair amount of the season through injury, while Kostas Stafylidis, Keven Schlotterbeck and Vassilis Lambropoulos provided the cover when needed.

An indication of the pressure the defence was under this season is seen by the fact they made the second highest number of tackles in the defensive third (301) and had the third highest number of clearances (776) and well the third highest number of errors leading to an opposition shot on goal (13).


Bochum at least attempted to be combative in midfield, but it was a matter of quantity over quality. They tied with Köln as the league’s highest tackle attempters (310), but were only ranked ninth in terms of success (48.8%). Captain Anthony Losilla and Kevin Stöger were the key anchors in the centre with Patrick Osterhage also contributing. Asano and Antwi-Adjei provided the width with Philipp Förster also making 15 starts (25 appearances in total).

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Transfer Review

Frugality was the buzz word at Bochum this season as they spent just €1.79 million, while bringing in some €14.27 million. Philipp Förster purchased from VfB Stuttgart for €500,00 and led the side for assists (seven) while scoring three times himself. Dominique Heintz came in on loan from Union Berlin but made just eight starts. Philipp Hofmann arrived on a free transfer from Karlsruhe and ended the season as the club’s top scorer with eight goals.

Gambian defender Saidy Janko was signed on loan from Valladolid, while, Greek defender Konstantinos Stafylidis had his previous loan from made permanent and made nineteen appearances (eleven as a starter). Lys Mousset was signed from English side Sheffield Wednesday, but didn’t even make a single appearance before being suspended for unprofessional behaviour and ultimately being sent back out on loan to Nimes.  Other more successful arrivals were midfielder Kevin Stöger (free) and defender Ivan Ordets (loan from Dinamo Moscow).

The winter transfer window saw the arrival of young Borussia Dortmund II striker Moritz Broschinski, centre back Keven Schlotterbeck from Freiburg and Pierre Kunde on loan from Olympiacos.

Player of the Season

Manuel Riemann may have made the odd blooper or two and his maverick style of goalkeeping often frustrates but he saved the club on so many occasions this season. He can be forgiven his eccentricities. He even got into a spat with his own fans behind the goal after the home loss to Stuttgart, but he remains a firm favourite with the fans at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion.

He maintained his excellent record with penalties- saving three. His long passing remained a threat, while he took on the mantle of the sweeper keeper leading the whole league with 121 actions outside his penalty area (the next highest was 70).

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Goals were hard to come by for Bochum this season making the signing of Moritz Broschinski from Borussia Dortmund II in the winter a wise one. The 22-year-old scored on his debut as a substitute against Hoffenheim just nine minutes after coming on. He added a second in the 5-1 defeat by Wolfsburg, but will certainly be one to watch for next season.

Grade: C+

Bochum were written off by many and after their abysmal start to the season, the negativity seemed justified. They never gave up though and the joyous scenes at the pitch invasion on matchday 34 were testament to the fighting spirit and turnaround instilled by Thomas Letsch. He had an uphill task, but set about it by working to Bochum’s strengths and using the 12th man that the Vonovia Ruhrstadion provided. A third season in the top flight beckons and while this season was a struggle, the reward at the end was worth it.

About Mathew Burt 1058 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball