2023 has come to an end and the Bundesliga enters its traditional Winterpause, which gives us here at Bundesliga Fanatic the ideal opportunity to take a closer look at each of the eighteen clubs and rate their performance in the first half of the season. Next we run the rule over VfL Bochum.
The story so far
The writing was on the wall for Bochum at the start of the season when they were dumped out of the DFB Pokal in the first round by Arminia Bielefeld. The early cup exit set the tone for a very disappointing start to their third season back in the Bundesliga and they only just finished out of the bottom three courtesy of two wins achieved in December.
The 2023-24 season began with a 5-0 hammering at the hands of VfB Stuttgart (before we knew what a force the Swabians were going to prove this season). The next three games all brought draws with a point taken off Borussia Dortmund, Augsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Harry Kane helped himself to his first Bundesliga hat trick as the Ruhr side came away from their trip to the Allianz Arena with a 7-0 thrashing ringing in their ears, but plenty of sides get a shellacking from the Rekordmeister. Two more losses (Mönchengladbach and Freiburg) and two draws (RB Leipzig and Manz) followed before Thomas Letsch’s side finally got their first win of the season with a 2-1 away win at struggling Darmstadt with Takuma Asano scoring both goals.
A point was shared with both Heidenheim and Köln before they notched up a second win of the season by beating Wolfsburg 3-1 at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion. Defeats to Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen (both away from home) sandwiched a third win against Union Berlin to see Bochum finish the year in 14th place and six points clear of the bottom.
Having finished 13th and 14th in the past two seasons, VfL Bochum are where you would expect to find them and they would no doubt take their current league position come the end of the campaign if you offered it to them now.
Tale of the tape
Record: 3-7-6, 16 points (1 per game), 14th in Bundesliga
Home Record: 10 points (2-4-1) Away Record: 6 points (1-3-5)
Goals: 18 (1.13 per game), Goals Against: 33 (2.06 per game), Diff: -15
xG: 22.1, xGA: 28.8
The first win against Darmstadt ended the run of nine winless games (ten including the cup). The 3-1 home win over Wolfsburg was probably the best performance and came at the right time to give them a tiny bit of breathing space ahead of the bottom three.
The 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Bayern, while not a surprise, was the worst result so far this season and the first round Pokal exit was also a low point before the league season even started. The opening day debacle against Stuttgart also set the tone for a poor start generally.
For a team near the bottom end of the table, there are still a few names that stand out. Takuma Asano has top scored with five goals, while Keven Schlotterbeck has impressed with his displays at the back. However, we’ve gone for midfielder Patrick Osterhage as the stand-out performer from the Hinrunde with the 23-year-old making himself noticed with his consistent levels in the engine room.
No-one expected Bochum to be challenging for European places with a long, hard season fighting to retain their Bundesliga place, the generally agreed forecast. That has proved to be the case and to finish in 14th with a six-point cushion over the bottom three will be accepted at this stage.