VfL Bochum and Fortuna Düsseldorf fought out an entertaining, but controversial, goalless draw on Monday night, with the visitors ensuring they finished their weekend with their three-point lead at the top of the 2. Bundesliga intact.
Felix Bastians’s early shot was deemed not to have passed the line before it was cleared by Florian Neuhuas, whilst Kevin Stöger could have been sent off for an elbow on Adam Bodzek.
Lukas Hinterseer was then sent off late in the game for a dubious second-bookable offence.
Officials create controversy without VAR
Both teams had been knocked out of the DFB-Pokal in midweek, albeit in differing circumstances – Bochum had been upset by 3. Liga side SC Paderborn 07, whilst Fortuna went down bravely to Borussia Mönchengladbach. Both made multiple changes to their teams here. Anthony Losilla, Maxim Leitsch, Thomas Eisfeld and Dimitrios Diamantakos came in for Bochum; Kaan Ayhan, Bodzek and Takashi Usami for the visitors.
The first half would be dominated by controversy. First Diamantakos had a shot saved by Raphael Wolf, but could have had a penalty as he was being tugged back by Robin Bormuth. The resulting corner went straight to Bastians on the edge of the box with his shot kept out on the line by Neuhaus – although it was far from conclusive whether or not that ball had actually gone over the line before he had chested it away, dangerously close to his arm. There’s no VAR, or goal-line technology, in the 2. Bundesliga.
Those were clear signs the league leaders would find it far from easy and that proved to be the case. Chances were few and far between for them. Neuhaus couldn’t be kept out of the game though, with his strike from an initially-cleared corner saved by Manuel Riemann. The Bochum goalkeeper also kept out a better chance for Rouwen Hennings later in the half, a diving header from a Jean Zimmer cross.
The other major talking point of the half followed shortly after. Bodzek wrestled Stöger to the ground, and after dealing with a flare-up between both sets of players, referee Benjamin Cortus rightfully booked him. What he missed though, as both players had fallen to the ground, is that Stöger had clearly elbowed Bodzek. If Cortus had been looking, that could surely have been a red card.
He then almost set up an opener for the hosts just before the break. A class pass found Eisfeld on the left edge of the box, however his shot was saved by Wolf, ensuring it remained goalless at half time.
Hinterseer sent off as both teams draw a blank
Neither team had been able to take the upper hand in the first half, and that is how it remained in the second. Diamantakos and Zimmer would both hit the side netting for their respective sides, although in between there were golden chances too.
First for Düsseldorf, Hennings struck wide across goal after Jan Gyamerah had dispossessed one of his team mates. Moments later Bochum came even closer at the other end. Luke Hemmerich’s cross found Hinterseer, with his effort tipped over the bar by Wolf.
As the minutes ticked by, Hinterseer came close again for the hosts. Found by Eisfeld, albeit appearing to be just offside when the ball was played, he controlled the ball well but struck off target. Düsseldorf then came painstakingly close as well. From a Niko Gießelmann free-kick, the ball fell to Marcel Sobottka but Riemann got a vital touch to send the ball wide.
There was still time for one more contentious moments. Hinterseer was through on goal and he looked on course to score. Only he lost control of the ball, went down and mildly came together with Wolf. Düsseldorf players surrounded the referee, feeling he had deliberately slid in on their keeper, and Cortus saw fit to show Hinterseer his second yellow of the game.
Bastians fired over from a Stöger free-kick in stoppage time and that was the last time either side came close to getting a goal in this match. Düsseldorf do though retain the three-point lead they held over second-placed Holstein Kiel at the start of the weekend, whilst Bochum are a point further away from the bottom three.