VfL Bochum hung on to beat 2. Bundesliga leaders Fortuna Düsseldorf, although the game ended in bizarre circumstances with Kaan Ayhan and Thomas Eisfeld both shown quick-fire yellow cards.
Eisfeld had given Bochum the lead 20 minutes from time with a stunning strike from outside the box, with Robbie Kruse soon doubling that lead before Rouwen Hennings pulled one back from the penalty spot.
Ayhan and Eisfeld then clashed, seeing not one but two bookings each from Felix Zwayer, but Eisfeld’s teammates did keep their cool for a massive three points.
Hinterseer and Zimmer closest as both sides feed off scraps
Despite one leading the table and the other being stuck in the epic promotion-relegation mid-table scrap, it was in fact two of the form teams in the 2. Bundesliga meeting at the Esprit Arena. Düsseldorf had lost to SV Darmstadt 98 on Monday night though, with Friedhelm Funkel responding with four changes – Jean Zimmer, Niko Gießelmann, Adam Bodzek and Benito Raman were all brought back in. Robin Dutt on the other hand was satisfied with the team that beat Eintracht Braunschweig and had intended to stick with the same eleven, but a late injury to Stefano Celozzi meant Patrick Fabian, who extended his contract earlier in the day, had to come in.
The hosts and league leaders looked to make early headway, but Bochum stood firm at the back and in fact had the first big chance of the first half themselves. Lukas Hinterseer, from the right corner of the pitch, looked to test Raphael Wolf instead of crossing for a teammate, and the Düsseldorf goalkeeper had to scramble back to tip his effort over the bar.
Bochum continued to test them with a series of set pieces, without any luck, whilst a later attempt from Hinterseer to put the ball in the centre for Kruse was intercepted by Ayhan.
Düsseldorf weren’t fairing much better at the other end of the pitch. Right-back Zimmer would in fact have their best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes, hitting his low volley hard, but into the ground and wide, after he was found by a cross form Genki Haraguchi. Hennings then couldn’t connect with a Raman cross, whilst Robin Bormuth and Gießelmann had chances but also failed to open the scoring before the break.
Bochum punish Düsseldorf for missed chances
Bochum could have been ahead inside the first minute of the second half, however a shot from Hinterseer was wide of the post with Wolf struggling to get across. Düsseldorf though began to play with a lot more purpose, with Raman in particular looking increasingly dangerous on the right wing.
After beating a Bochum defender, he found Hennings but the forward’s shot on the turn clattered into the post. The woodwork was rattling again when Ayhan headed Haraguchi’s free-kick into the bar, whilst his header from the following corner was claimed by Manuel Riemann. Soon after that, Zimmer had another effort but it went into the side netting.
Düsseldorf would regret missing those chances, just as Funkel might have been left wishing he had left Raman on. Hinterseer had another effort, straight at Wolf this time. Then Bochum’s first replacement of the game, Eisfeld, eyed up a chance to score after getting the ball from Tim Hoogland. Outside the box, he took aim and gave Wolf no chance with a superb strike, just a minute after Raman had replaced by Takashi Usami.
It would get even better for the visitors just four minutes later, as a mistake from Oliver Fink gave them the chance to break. Hinterseer’s excellently-placed ball put Kruse through on goal, although he still had to get past Bormuth, which he did. He slotted past Wolf and just like that Bochum were 2-0 up.
Hennings gives Fortuna hope before red mist falls on Ayhan and Eisfeld
The hosts weren’t beaten though. Usami had a shot saved by Riemann before Danilo Soares was adjudged to have bought down Düsseldorf’s other Japanese winger, Haraguchi. Hennings stepped up and sent Bochum’s keeper the wrong way to set up a tense final ten minutes.
The tension got too much for both Ayhan and Eisfeld. An argument between the two saw both booked by Zwayer. They didn’t heed the warning though, and Zwayer eventually lost his patience and decided to book them both again, leaving the two sides down to ten men for the closing minutes.
Either side of that Düsseldorf had the best chances to save a point. A volley from Havard Nielsen was saved by Riemann, whilst in stoppage Hennings did well to bring a ball down from the air but he couldn’t keep his own shot down.
So despite that incredible ending, Bochum hung on for a massive three points. Depending on how one looks at it, they’ve either played themselves into promotion contention as they move up to sixth, level on points with FC Ingolstadt 04 and SSV Jahn Regensburg above them, or eased their relegation fears by opening up a six-point gap on the bottom three. Düsseldorf had been six points clear of second-placed 1. FC Nürnberg so will stay top – but are they losing form at the wrong time?
Friday’s other 2. Bundesliga result
SV Sandhausen 0-0 SpVgg Greuther Fürth