Bundesliga relegation: Hardly any hope left: VfL staggers towards relegation

Bundesliga relegation
Hardly any hope left: VfL staggers towards relegation

VfL Bochum is facing relegation. Photo

© David Inderlied/dpa

VfL Bochum seemed to be saved this season. Now the club is on the verge of relegation. The sporting director says what still gives him hope despite the 0:3 defeat against Fortuna Düsseldorf.

On the edge of the football abyss, the VfL Bochum is almost only talking about perseverance. “It sounds a bit silly now, but if Düsseldorf can score three goals here, why shouldn’t we be able to do it,” said VfL top scorer Kevin Stöger after the disastrous 0:3 defeat in the relegation first leg against Fortuna Düsseldorf. “We won’t give up. We still believe in ourselves.” But is there really still hope of preventing the seventh Bundesliga relegation in the club’s history? What else speaks for VfL?

“It gives me hope that we managed to score three goals in one half two or three weeks ago,” said sports director Patrick Fabian, referring to the 4:3 victory at 1. FC Union Berlin on matchday 32. “It gives me hope that Fortuna scored three goals here today too, that it is possible to do that in football. We will try to build on that.”

“Brutal day for all of us”

Realistically speaking, the chances of avoiding relegation are probably vanishingly small. Bochum is the weakest away team in the Bundesliga. VfL is in a complete slump, conceding twelve goals in the last three matches and only scoring once themselves. In addition, the club from the region is up against a defensively stable, counter-attacking and extremely confident opponent. Düsseldorf is desperate to get back into the Bundesliga and made VfL feel that clearly in front of Bochum’s excited fan and Bayern star Leon Goretzka. The second division team could have won by an even larger margin.

“This is a brutal day for all of us,” said sporting director Fabian with an almost completely stony expression on his face about the mood at VfL. The 36-year-old knows that criticism of his work and his decisions is increasing. “It is my overall responsibility for the area. I have to face up to it. That’s the way it is,” he said.

Bochum already seemed saved

The former VfL professional and the other people responsible for the sport have to ask themselves how a season that was actually stable could take such a turn. After the 3:2 win against FC Bayern on matchday 22, Bochum was nine points ahead of the relegation place. Then things went downhill. The change of coach from Thomas Letsch to Heiko Butscher also did not have the desired effect. In fact, Bochum currently seems more unstable than at any time this season.

In addition to the poor performances on the pitch, the ousting of regular goalkeeper Manuel Riemann is causing unrest. The emotional 35-year-old and the sporting management had not come to an agreement before the relegation. Riemann was excluded from the play-offs. From Fabian’s point of view, this was a decision without alternative. “After a game like that, you obviously have few arguments, but that doesn’t change the Riemann issue at all,” he said.

For the second encounter this Monday (8.30 p.m. Sat.1 and Sky), he also appealed to the players’ honor. In Düsseldorf, they must “present themselves with all their might, with all the honor that this crest brings with it, and try to steer the thing in our direction.”

Fortuna talks Bochum up

The Fortuna team tried to clearly prevent any thoughts that the Rhinelanders were already feeling safe after their clear first leg win and were underestimating VfL. The impression that they were already planning on playing in the first league was definitely not to be created.

“I don’t think Bochum will say now, ‘We’re giving up, we’re already relegated,'” said goalscorer Yannik Engelhardt. “That’s why we have to fight back on Monday.” Goalkeeper Florian Kastenmeier explained: “We’ve seen often enough in football that a 3-0 lead can be turned around.”


source site-2