These matches just keep on coming!
October’s match congestion has yet to cease as we move into the final week or so before breaking for the winter World Cup. It feels weird saying “winter,” it is just a World Cup after all... but in the winter. Dortmund still has three matches before said World Cup begins, and one of those is against neighboring VFL Bochum. Dortmund and Bochum have a recent history of playing each other in friendly, off-season matches but their competitive meetings have been impressive since their most recent promotion to the Bundesliga in 2021. Since that promotion, Dortmund have not been victorious against the smaller team, settling first for a 1-1 draw in Bochum last December, and then a 3-4 loss in the Signal Iduna Park.
Despite Bochum sitting in lowly seventeenth place, they’ve proven to be a difficult opponent for the Black and Yellows.
Bochum began the season with a Pokal win over FC Viktoria Berlin before plunging into a poor run of form that would see them take just one point from their opening eight Bundesliga matches. They even lost to Schalke! The poor run of form also cost manager Thomas Reis his job. The higher-ups at Bochum believed that an early managerial change would be the only thing that could ensure Bochum remain a Bundesliga team for the foreseeable future.
Thomas Letsch signed on as manager with a contract through 2024 as part of Bochum’s survival plan. The new boss most recently managed Dutch first-division side Vitesse Arnhem and has the experience needed to right the Bochum ship so to speak. It wasn’t smooth sailing at first, but Bochum defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 at the beginning of October and two weeks later, they downed league leaders Union Berlin 2-1. Bochum has yet to obtain any points away from home this season, but Thomas Letsch has proven that they can compete withe some of the Bundesliga’s best. Those two wins also lifted Bochum off of the bottom of the table and they will likely try to capitalize on the tired legs of Dortmund players who have been playing every three to four days.
Edin Terzic played down injury concerns surrounding the halftime substitutions of Mats Hummels and Gregor Kobel midweek against Copenhagen. Both players should be fit to start against Bochum. I also anticipate a return to the starting XI for several key players rested midweek including Jude Bellingham, Julian Brandt, Niklas Süle and Youssoufa Moukoko. Thomas Meunier and Marius Wolf have been ruled out and Rapha Geurreiro’s fitness remains in question, so I think Thorgan Hazard will get another start a wingback.
Tom Rothe picked up a knock in training and is expected to miss this match while Captain Marco Reus will likely still be sidelined. I expect a more concentrated attack than what we saw against Copenhagen as I doubt Terzic will underestimate Bochum. There are three very important points that Dortmund should earn this weekend.
Player to watch: Philipp Hofmann
Philipp Hofmann has recently found his form for Bochum, netting the first goal against Frankfurt to spark a performance that would see Bochum triumph 3-0. Hofmann also scored both of Bochum's goals in their win over Union Berlin. The 33-year-old German arrived in the summer on a free transfer and although Bochum have had a rough start to this campaign, Philip Hofmann may just be their savior as Bochum try to battle out of the relegation zone.
Even though we haven’t managed to defeat Bochum in recent Bundesliga encounters, I’m optimistic BVB will have a better performance than against Copenhagen midweek. They’ll also have a home crowd cheering them on. It’ll be important for Dortmund’s players to avoid complacency as I believe Bochum is a better club than their seventeenth place suggests. If they’ve defeated Frankfurt and Union, then they’re certainly capable of beating Dortmund. That being said, I think starts from Brandt, Moukoko and Bellingham will overwhelm Bochum's defense. Mats Hummels, Nico Schlotterbeck and Gregor Kobel have been in good form as well so they’ll make life difficult for Bochum’s attack.
Scoreline Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 3-1 VFL Bochum
And for those who may have forgotten, BVB has also drawn Bochum in the next round of the DFB Pokal. The match will be away and won’t take place until February 1, 2023!
Wow, that feels so far away.
What are your predictions for this match? Tell us in the comments!