Despite going a goal up against 1. FC Union Berlin, VfL Bochum were unable to pick up three points once again. A wonderful goal from Peniel Mlapa gave them the lead, but Damir Kreilach hit back to earn the Berliners a share of the spoils.
Bochum were out to try and halt a remarkable fall from grace that has seen them win just once in nine games. Gertjan Verbeek brought in Onur Bulut and Thomas Eisfeld for Janik Haberer and Arvydas Novikovas, in a bid to spark a revival of form. For Union, their topsy-turvy season continued with an entertaining 3-3 draw with 1. FC Nürnberg. Despite losing a two-goal lead, Sascha Lewandowski opted to field the same side that started that match.
Mlapa scores a special strike, but Bochum paid to pay in defence
The hosts were in control early on and Union couldn't make much, if any, headway going forward. The Berliners' inability to relieve any pressure finally told when Peniel Mlapa opened the scoring just before the 15 minute mark. He managed to collect the ball on the edge of the half-way line before driving to the edge of the opposition area, where he cut back inside Toni Leistner and curled a shot inside the far post.
It looked like the international break had done Bochum the world of good and they soon found themselves with another scoring opportunity. Novikovas broke away down the right hand side before crossing towards Simon Terodde, only to see Leistner cut it out. What looked like a good interception was soon looping into his own net, though Daniel Haas spared his blushes with a quite remarkable diving save.
That seemed to finally spur Union into life and, after Verbeek's side had failed to clear their lines moments before, got themselves level. After Steven Skrzybski had tried and failed to get past Timo Perthel, the defender couldn't get the ball clear and Skrzybski won possession back. He crossed into the middle and Andreas Luthe could only parry into the feet of Damir Kreilach, who gleefully tapped into the open goal.
It could have been two in as many minutes had Maximilian Thiel found a way past past the defence and then went one-on-one with Luthe, though he was able to make amends for his previous mistake. Bochum just about made it into the break level-pegging, as yet another promising start was wasted.
Second half fails to excite
The second half was a slow burner, as both sides struggled to break the other down. Union were looking stronger and should have gone ahead after a flurry of chances fell their way. Unfortunately for the capital club, they were unable to really test Luthe.
Bochum did their best to try and force a way through themselves, with the lively Novikovas dribbling around the visiting defence before his shot was deflected narrowly past the post. The resulting corner summed up the game, as it flew wildly over everyone and out for a throw in.
It was a bitty, gritty affair in the second period and the two team, who are mostly definitely better with the ball on the floor, found it hard to get anything going. Kreilach forced Luthe into another good save just after the hour, though neither side could force a way through and the game ended all square.