VFL Bochum vs Hertha BSC: Bundesliga Preview, Gameweek 16, 2023
Patrick Osterhage featured as VFL Bochum ended the year with two victories and look to start the year in a similar fashion. PHOTO CREDIT: DeFodi Images

New Year, New Me is the motto for both these sides heading into the second half of the Bundesliga season as they look to move away from the relegation zone.

VFL Bochum host Hertha BSC at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion on Saturday afternoon in a pivotal match at the bottom of Bundesliga, with just one point and one place separating the two sides.

January has seen both sides compete in friendlies and like their league performances prior to the break, there seems to be little to separate them.

Bochum struggled in their friendlies, drawing with Swiss sides Grasshoppers and Luzern, with a 3-0 defeat to Hungarian opposition Diosgyor in between.

Hertha only faced off with Colombian outfit Millonarios and the game ended in a 2-2 draw. 

However, the sides can be separated by goal difference. Hertha  have conceded just 22 goals this season, less than 4th placed Eintracht Frankfurt, and amassing a goal difference of just minus three. 

The hosts are the second lowest scorers in the league with 14 and to go with that they are the worst defensive side in the Bundesliga, conceding 36 goals in the 15 games so far.

  • Form so far

The start of the season was poor from a Bochum standpoint. They looked to build on their 13th placed finish last season, but mustered just two wins in their first 13 Bundesliga games.

Bochum ended 2022 with back-to-back wins and will look to leapfrog their opponents and move out of the relegation spots on Saturday.

Hertha also ended the year on a winning note with a 1-0 victory over FC Koln. The visitors will be looking to avoid a similar outcome to the 2021/22 season, in which they they faced Hamburger SV in the relegation playoff, requiring a 2-0 away from home to maintain their top flight status. 

Sandro Schwarz side have only won three games all season but have five draws to their name. Their defense is better than some of the teams chasing European football but they still need to turn those draws into wins and getting off to a strong start against a fellow struggling side is the perfect opportunity to kickstart their push for safety. 

Sandro Schwarz is looking to steer Hertha to safety in the second half of the season. PHOTO CREDIT: Boris Streubel
Sandro Schwarz is looking to steer Hertha to safety in the second half of the season. PHOTO CREDIT: Boris Streubel
  • Team News

VFL Bochum

Having two months rest and recovery will be key for all Bundesliga sides this weekend. Defender Dominique Heintz returned to training during Bochum's January camp, however, he is likely to not be starting the first game back but may say more time in the coming months. 

Two new signings may also make their debuts for Bochum in front of their home crowd. Keven Schlotterbeck, older brother of Borussia Dortmund defender Nico Schlotterbeck, has signed on loan from SC Freiburg for the remainder of the season.

Keven Schlotterbeck has signed on loan for Bochum until the end of the season. PHOTO CREDIT: Aziz Karimov
Keven Schlotterbeck has signed on loan for Bochum until the end of the season. PHOTO CREDIT: Aziz Karimov
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Manager Thomas Letsch has also looked to bolster his midfield by bringing in former Mainz man and Cameroon international Pierre Kunde on loan from Greek side Olympiakos.

Hertha BSC

The side from the capital have made a move of their own to try push themselves away from the relegation zone by bringing in experienced striker Florian Niederlechner.

Originally, the move was to go through in the summer but Hertha pushed forward as they saw his 27 goals and 14 assists for Augsburg since summer of 2019 being too valuable to wait on. The departure of Davie Selke to Koln saw Schwarz bring in the frontman to challenge Wilfried Kanga and Stefan Jovetic for the starting spot.

In other good news, Kevin-Prince Boateng has returned and was active in January friendlies. On the contrary, Chidera Ejuke suffered a knee ligament injury and could spend a number of months on the sideline.

  • Likely Lineups

VFL Bochum

Riemann; Gamboa, Labropoulos, Ordets, Danilo; Stoger, Losilla, Stafylidis; Hoffman, Zoller, Antwi-Adjei

Hertha BSC

Christensen; Kenny, Rogel, Kempf, Plattenhardt; Serdar, Sunjic, Tousart; Lukebakio, Kanga, Richter

  • Key Players

VFL Bochum - Kevin Stoger

The Austrian midfielder is the key to Bochum and he makes them tick. He may only have one goal and one assist this season, but it is his creativity that shines for Bochum. 

Kevin Stoger will be integral for Bochum in the second half of the season. PHOTO CREDIT: DeFodi Images
Kevin Stoger will be integral for Bochum in the second half of the season. PHOTO CREDIT: DeFodi Images

Kevin Stoger averages 2.5 key passes per games and has a pass completion rate of 75%. Bochum do not dominate possession in most games but will have a chance against another struggling side at home and Stoger will be key in taking advantage of this opportunity.

He has started 14 games this season and was instrumental in their two victories to end 2022. He gives them every chance of survival this season and will be instrumental not only versus Hertha but for the remainder of the season.

Hertha BSC - Dodi Lukebakio

Easily the standout player in this Hertha side that has struggled so far this season. The Belgian has featured in all 15 games so far and has scored seven goals from an expected goals (xG) total of 4.16, two of which were from the penalty spot.

<strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en/international-football/2021/08/24/germany-bundesliga/1083433-bayern-munich-vs-hertha-berlin-preview-how-to-watch-kick-off-time-team-news-predicted-lineups-and-ones-to-watch.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en/international-football/2021/08/24/germany-bundesliga/1083433-bayern-munich-vs-hertha-berlin-preview-how-to-watch-kick-off-time-team-news-predicted-lineups-and-ones-to-watch.html'>Dodi Lukebakio</a></strong> has seven goals to his name this season and is key to Hertha remaining in the Bundesliga. PHOTO CREDIT:Boris Streubel
Dodi Lukebakio has seven goals to his name this season and is key to Hertha remaining in the Bundesliga. PHOTO CREDIT:Boris Streubel

He sits joint-seventh in the goalscoring charts behind the Bayern Munich pairing of Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala, which is impressive for the fourth lowest scoring team in the Bundesliga.

Having missed out on a spot in the Belgium World Cup squad, the pacey winger will look to continue adding to his goal tally and is the key to Hertha remaining in the top flight of German football. 

  • Match Details

Head-to-head

These teams have met 24 times in total with the hosts managing to win only three of these. This fixture last season saw Hertha win 3-1 back in September 2021, with the reverse ending in a 1-1 draw.

Where is the game being played?

Hertha will be heading West from the German capital as they face Bochum at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion.

What time is kick-off?

This is one of five Bundesliga games that are kicking off on Saturday at 14:30 PM GMT.

How can I watch?

The game is not streamed live on Sky Sports but highlights will be uploaded to the Bundesliga YouTube channel shortly after the game has finished.

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