Relief for the Foals, as De Carmargo grabs a controversial winner

Igor De Carmargo’s goal in the 93rd minute of play outraged Bochum coach Friedhelm Funkel, because the referee only had given two minutes of overtime. Let’s dissect the first leg of today’s relegation play-off match.

Preamble: 2. Bundesliga side Bochum went into the game being undefeated against Borussia Mönchengladbach for the last 15 years, or 12 matches to be more precise. Bochum coach Friedhelm Funkel has in his previous five season as a 2. Bundesliga coach always managed to get promoted with his sides, and is now looking to get promoted for the sixth time out of six tries. Funkel had to do without key players like Vogt and Azaouagh in his starting line-up because of injuries. Azaouagh did make an appearance in the second half, and is set to come back at full strength in the next match between the two sides.

Lucien Favre and Borussia Mönchengladbach were looking for fifth game in a row without a loss. Having taken 10 points from their last four games of their Bundesliga campaign, and with all their key players healthy, Gladbach were favorites to win this match.

The coaches record against the opposition were both good. Funkel had 10 wins, 4 draws and 8 losses against Gladbach before the match, while Favre had beaten Bochum 3 times, drawn 1 and lost 1 as well.

The match: Gladbach try to break down Bochum’s defense

Favre approached today’s match in the 4-4-2 formation that had worked well for the foals for the last few matches, while Bochum coach Funkel went with a 4-3-3 formation, that could have been interpreted as a 4-1-4-1 formation while Bochum were in defense.


Borussia Mönchengladbach: ter Stegen – Jantschke, Stranzl, Dante, Daems – Nordtveit, Neustädter – Arango, Reus – Hanke, Idrissou

VfL Bochum: Luthe – Kopplin, Maltritz, Yahia, Ostrzolek – Johansson, Dabrowski – Freier, Toski, Korkmaz – Aydin

1st half: Gladbach creating the chances

Borussia Mönchengladbach came out attacking as expected. Their first chance was created after a nice inter-play between Marco Reus and right back Tony Jantscke on the right wing. Jantscke’s cross found Juan Arango in the end, but his header was denied by Bochum’s best man of the match, their goalkeeper Andreas Luthe.

While Gladbach’s game plan for the first half was to get their wings, Arango and Reus into action, Bochum were focusing on defending. What appeared to be a 4-3-3 formation on paper, was most of the time a defending 4-1-4-1 formation, with a lone striker. Bochum were focussing on using their chances on counter attacks and free kicks and corner kicks. Friedhelm Funkel’s side managed to grab two such chances in the first half: In the fifth minute a header by Anthar Yahia was headed off the line by Philip Daems after a corner kick. In the 22nd minute Marcel Maltritz managed to snatch the ball after a corner kick, and the central defender set off with the rest of his team mates and created a four against three situation. Maltritz got to finish the attack himself, but Gladbach goalie Marc-André ter Stegen saved the shot from the experienced defender masterfully.

Gladbach created on their hand four clear cut chances in the first half. Mike Hanke was denied by a brilliant Luthe save in the 34th minute, while the ball that had dropped for Roman Neustädter was blocked by Bochum’s outstanding right back Björn Kopplin. Dante got also his head on a corner kick some minutes later, but his towering header missed the goal by a whisker.

Roman Neustädter did all the dirty work in his holding midfield position.

1st half conclusion: Bochum put all their eggs in one basket and focused on defending for the entire first half. Gladbach’s dynamic midfield duo Håvard Nordtveit and Roman Neustädter managed to keep kill all the attacking efforts Bochum’s Paul Freier and Faton Toski threw at them. Furthermore, the two central midfielders were also vital in getting the ball out to Gladbach’s two wingers Reus and Arango.

Gladbach failed, however, to create enough chances to score a goal in the first half. Their best chances came mostly from the right side, when Reus found Hanke, and from corner kicks and free kicks.

2nd half: Gladbach turn up the heat, and the 16 second controversy strikes

The second half gave the viewers of this excellent match more of the same. Gladbach trying desperately to get rid of their “Bochum curse”, while Bochum’s excellent back four and holding midfielder Christoph Dabrowski tried everything to keep the Foals away from the Gladbach goal.

However, as the legs of the Bochum players grew more tired, Gladbach did manage to get more and more chances in the last 30 minutes. The Foals managed to create six clear cut chances before the over time, and should have been ahead at that point.

However, a rather controversial goal swung the mood in the Borussiapark from mildly disappointed to ecstasy: A long throw by Norwegian Håvard Nordtveit found its way to Igor De Carmargo, but his first short range effort was saved by Andreas Luthe in the Bochum goal. Mike Hanke failed to place a proper shot on goal after the ball had bounced back to him, but Anthar Yahia’s dreadful clearance found its way back to the Belgian De Carmargo, who then thrashed the ball into the goal, 16 seconds after the two minutes of over time were supposed to end.

2nd half conclusion: Gladbach had most of the possession also in this half. The team managed to develop dangerous attacks mostly through their wingers Reus and Arango. Mo Idrissiou drifted further and further left in the second half to support Arango, while Hanke got excellent service in the box.

Bochum on the other hand tried to snatch a goal through defending and trying to break Gladbach down on the counter attack. They failed mainly because of their fullbacks unwillingness to contribute to their attack. Furthermore, their attacking midfielders were most of the time caught up in defense, and if Freier tried to create something going forward, he was stopped by the midfield duo Nordtveit and Neustädter most of the time.

The stats: Borussia Mönchengladbach vs VfL Bochum
Possession: 60.1% vs 39.9%
Shots: 23 vs 14
Shots on goal:8 vs 4
Completed passes: 379 vs 237
Passing accuracy: 79% vs 74%
Duels won: 62 vs 62
Corner kicks: 10 vs 6
Crosses: 28 vs 19
Fouls: 18 vs 13
Yellow cards: 1 vs 3
Offsides: 3 vs 4

Outlook: Bochum face an uphill battle

Going into next wednesday’s match, Bochum need at least one goal to get to extra time. Their important right back Björn Kopplin will be missing in this match after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.

Bochum will most likely not risk everything going forward in the beginning of the match, and hope for room on a counter attack to create a goal for them. Gladbach will however, not risk too much going forward.

Who do you think will win in the end? Will Bochum be able to come back from this defeat and get into the Bundesliga? Leave a comment below!

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.


  1. Ha… I think the last 20-25 minutes will be very entertaining. One team is probably chasing a goal or two, and that will open it all up.

    If Gladbach hadn’t scored, the next match would be really boring, with Bochum trying to defend a 0-0, trying to get a goal on one of their 2 or 3 counter attacks.

  2. well, if Bochum want to contain Reus, Arango and Hanke they can’t risk too much. And if the referee had blown the whistle after two minutes they’d gotten the result they desired.

    Funkel is not known for taking much risk. His goal will be to get to extra time.

  3. And the way you seem to be setting it up, the final will be a snoozer. I wonder if Funkel doesn’t have his squad press early on ‘Gladbach and try to get the equalizer, aware that they will be playing the draw. After all, it’s not for nothing the Foals were one of the worst defensive squads in Bundesliga, and without Kopplin to defend, Bochum might want to be the aggressors rather than just play to counter attack.

  4. It seems a bit of a crock that the yellow card tally carried over to the playoff, thus denying Bochum the services of one of their best players. Also, it’s funny, remember doing a quick post over @ about Nordveit going to ‘Gladbach and trying to elicit any thoughts from the Arsenal fans there. The impression I got was they didn’t really rate him, now he’s part of a dynamic duo since he’s been given the chance.

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