1-0, Mlapa 6'. 2-0, Bastians PEN 31'. 2-1, Dawidowicz OG 49'.
VfL Bochum 2-1 1. FC Heidenheim: Mlapa and Bastians bring Bochum back into promotion contention
Image credit: Bundesliga.de

VfL Bochum 2-1 1. FC Heidenheim: Mlapa and Bastians bring Bochum back into promotion contention

It was tight and tense but Bochum got the job done.

Jonathan Walsh

Goals from Peniel Mlapa and Felix Bastians helped VfL Bochum to a 2-1 win over 1. FC Heidenheim, who almost got back into the game through Pawel Dawidowicz.

Bochum dominate the first half

From the get-go in this meeting, it quickly became apparent that only one side were really on top of their game. Perhaps the Pokal was the reason, but Heidenheim looked shot.

With that in mind, Bochum took full advantage of the early sluggishness and opened the scoring after just six minutes. Mlapa was the man to make the breakthrough, but not without some help from the visitors. Robert Strauß failed to deal with a through ball and Mlapa went through on goal and finished superbly into the far corner from 12 yards.

Schmidt's side were limited to attempts from range and while Sebastian Griesbeck did come close on two occasions, he couldn't find a way past Manuel Riemann. Instead it was Bochum who came closer still, with Tim Hoogland, Mlapa and Marco Stiepermann combing for the latter to curl at goal; Kevin Müller was equal to the task, however.

The second goal did come when Mlapa, the star of the show, collected a Johannes Wurtz through ball and drove at Timo Beermann. The defender couldn't cope with the twisting and turning forward, and a stray leg brought him down. Felix Bastians stepped up and struck the ball hard to Müller's left; he almost saved but the power was too much.

Further chances fell the way of Mlapa but were much tougher than previous openings, while Marc Schnatterer's 40-yard drive was poor and ensured the hosts had a 2-0 lead.

Own goal gives Heidenheim hope but Bochum hang on

That changed immediately after the break as Heidenheim brought on Dominik Widemann and Tim Skarke for Griesbeck and Strauß. Neither had an imapct on the goal, as Schnatterer's free-kick was whipped into the middle and punched out by Riemann. Unfortunately for him, the ball hit Stiepermann and Dawidowicz in the face before going in.

Much like a shell-shocked Heidenheim, Bochum went into their shell and mistakes were frequent. Hoogland's back-pass put John Verhoek through on goal and Bastians had to track back at a rate of knots to block. There was even more madness at a corner, which was somehow cleared by Hoogland on the line after Verhoek hit the bar.

Substitutions seemed to get Verbeek's men back on track in the game, which was becoming ever-more open. Mlapa had the ball taken off his toes just before pulling the trigger while Stiepermann went on a superb run before just taking one touch too many and gave up possession.

Heidenheim came at Bochum strong in the final stages but fell just short, as Riemann's handling helped to relieve the pressure on his defence. A favourable set of results sees the hosts go four behind 1. FC Union Berlin in third as the race for promotion grows ever closer. The visitors, however, missed a big chance to go second.