After losing to Augsburg 1-1 at home the previous weekend, the visitors fell to the bottom of the standings.
On the other side, Bochum pulled out of the relegation zone last weekend after winning 2-1 away at recently promoted SV Darmstadt 98, their first victory of the year.
Takuma Asano’s opening goal was cancelled out by Fabian Nurnberger, and the two teams were tied at halftime. However, nine minutes later, Asano gave the visitors their lead back.
For a significant portion of the match, Bochum was behind, but Fabian Holland’s dismissal 21 minutes from time gave them a greater chance to hold out for a vital win, which they promptly accomplished.
With the victory, Thomas Letsch’s team overtook their rivals and moved into 14th place in the standings, precisely where they ended the previous campaign.
Die Unabsteigbaren’s main goal will definitely be survival as this is only their third season back in the Bundesliga after being promoted in 2021.
Because of this, Saturday’s matchup with a possible relegation foe is very important, especially considering that Bochum’s last road victory occurred in Cologne in early March.
Letsch’s team will be hoping for two straight wins as they had already gone nine games without a victory this season, including nine straight away without a win, before defeating Darmstadt.
Koln has lost seven of their ten Bundesliga games this season and has only triumphed once. Given his dismal start to the campaign, it comes as no surprise that Steffen Baumgart is supporting the rest of the division.
Last weekend, the Billy Goats managed to escape loss, but despite taking an early lead against Augsburg at home thanks to a goal from Linton Maina, Baumgart and his team would have been upset not to win as Phillip Tietz stole a point for the visitors.
Although Koln had a total of 26 shots and 10 corners during the match, they pushed Finn Dahmen into 10 saves, therefore it was disappointing that they were unable to win all three points.
After suffering a crushing 6-0 loss to RB Leipzig and a 3-2 loss to Kaiserslautern in the DFB-Pokal, there were far more encouraging signals after their tie at RheinEnergieStadion.
There is still a significant amount of the season left, so Baumgart needs to support his players in maintaining composure, even if they will be anxious to avoid finishing last during the next international break.
Nevertheless, with just one goal and one point from away this season, they obviously need an improved performance to claim a positive result at Bochum.
VfL Bochum Bundesliga form:
L L D L D W
FC Koln Bundesliga form:
L L L W L D
FC Koln form (all competitions):
L L W L L D
Currently, Matus Bero, Michael Esser, Mohammed Tolba, Lys Mousset, Jordi Osei-Tutu, Ivan Ordets, Christopher Antwi-Adjei, and Moritz Romling are among the Bochum players ruled out due to injury.
Because of this, Letsch’s sole selection conundrum might be whether to stick with Moritz Broschinski in attack after they eventually secured their first victory of the season against Darmstadt, or to bring back Danilo Soares and employ a 3-5-2 system.
Koln, on the other hand, will be without injured players Philipp Pentke and Jacob Christensen; Damion Downs and Dejan Ljubicic are also huge doubts because of knocks and illnesses, respectively.
Leart Paqarada could return to the side at left-back in order to provide more balance down that flank, while Davie Selke will be hopeful of earning a recall to lead the visitors’ line at the expense of Steffen Tigges.
VfL Bochum possible starting lineup:
Riemann; Masovic, Schlotterbeck, Bernardo; Gamboa, Losilla, Stoger, Osterhage, Soares; Asano, Hofmann
FC Koln possible starting lineup:
Schwabe; Carstensen, Hubers, Chabot, Paqarada; Martel, Kainz; Maina, Uth, Waldschmidt; Selke
There won’t be much confidence on show at Vonovia Ruhrstadion on Saturday, as both teams have only won once in the Bundesliga this season, especially since Koln is currently bottom of the table going into the game.
Although Bochum has shown to be more resilient than their rivals, they have only won once and drawn three times at home. With everything on the line in this probable six-pointer for relegation, we can see them having to split the spoils once more.