Mirko Slomka's Karlsruher SC will be fighting for another win as they travel away to the Vonovia Ruhrstadion where Gertjan Verbeek's VfL Bochum have not lost a home game in this season yet which promises to be an exciting match on Sunday.
After Bochum's defeat away at Union Berlin last weekend, Verbeek's men are currently 11th in the league with 22 points, just five points clear of KSC who are 15th in the 2nd Bundesliga. Last Sunday's 3-2 victory of Die Badener over Arminia Bielefeld made the bottom region tighter especially after Erzgebirge Aue and 1860 München managed to get three points as well.
Karlsruhe's away history however looks very disappointing this season; only one in the last eight away games could be won. VfL Bochum only won one match in the last seven matches; a 1-0 victory over 1860 München on Matchday 16. The history of the matches between the two teams is very equal; eight draws and one victory each in the last 10 meetings. Will we see another draw on Sunday afternoon?
Who lead the line for Karlsruhe?
KSC sporting director, Oliver Kreuzer had a very busy week and an even busier Deadline Day. Kreuzer signed six new players, of which four are on loan. One newcomer had his debut last week. Striker Oscar Zawada, who came from VfL Wolfsburg, was subbed on in the last five minutes to get a taster of what 2. Bundesliga feels like.
Fabian Reese, Benedikt Gimber, Stefan Mugosa and Jonas Meffert, who returned to Karlsruhe from SC Freiburg, are all fit and ready. This increases Slomka's options, yet he probably won't change much of his winning team from last weekend.
VfL Bochum weren't very active in the transfer market this winter. However, an impressive 4-1 victory over Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach in a friendly on Tuesday showed that there is good quality in the squad. Verbeek's boys will definitely give their best to keep scoring this coming Sunday as they did against Die Fohlenelf.
KSC's form is steadily improving
The former Hannover 96 and Schalke 04 coach definitely had an impact on Karlsruhe's recent improvement. Only one friendly game during the winter break was lost; a 2-0 defeat - Swiss side St. Gallen in Malta. This should surely be a warning for Verbeek's boys as Die Badener showed strong moral especially - Arminia Bielefeld after being down 1-0 at first.
VfL Bochum are the second strongest home team after league leaders Eintracht Braunschweig; four victories and four draws make Bochum a very strong team at their home ground. After their defeat in Berlin they will definitely hunt for a more positive outcome this time. KSC are unbeaten in their last five away games which promises to be a very entertaining match.
Verbeek has analysed his next opponent carefully: "We know a lot about Karlsruhe (...) and I have seen KSC - Bielefeld. Comparing their current team with their team before the winter break wouldn't make sense," he said during the press conference. "It will definitely be a hard match, but we want to perform to our maximum", he added.
Predicted Line ups:
VfL Bochum: (4-2-3-1) Riemann; Gyamerah, Leitsch, Hoogland, Bastians; Losilla, Stiepermann; Weilandt, Merkel, Wurtz; Mlapa.
Karlsruher SC: (4-4-2) Vollath; Kinsombi, Thoelke, Figueras, Kempe; Prömel, Yamada, Mavrias, Stoppelkamp; Hoffer, Diamantakos.
Quotes from VfL Bochum Twitter account.