Nordrhein-Westfalen: A region stands up together

The German leagues paused for the international matches. What’s the usual type of test matches teams are doing? Yes, against some lower league teams to try some players who didn’t get much time on the field so far, maybe an alternative system and to build up some confidence.

Not Fortuna Düsseldorf and VfL Bochum. They set up a friendly match for a good cause on saturday November 16th.

Despite all the rivalry between both teams, being direct opponents in the same league, and being only one position apart in the table, they decided to make this match happen for the Nordrhein-Westfalen region. After Opel and Nokia, which already released a lot of employes in Bochum and the surrounding area, the Finnish steel producer Outokumpu is now releasing 1000 employees in Düsseldorf and Bochum.

This caused the Bochum officials to go ahead and approach Fortuna to set up the charity match. Düsseldorf’s officials and coach Mike Büskens, who has been living in the area for twenty-one years now, were immediately delighted to participate. The early bird tickets sold really well. About 1000 Düsseldorf were expected. Even the employee organizations of Opel and Outokumpu bought 1500 tickets to support. The whole net income will be used for a good cause. In the end, a total of 3,548 people attended the match.

What was expected from the match from the sportive perspective?

Of course the match still had a test match character, so a lot of first-team players got minutes. On Bochum’s side it was especially good to see Felix Bastians and Heiko Butscher get some match practice after their injuries. Düsseldorf coach Mike Büskens said he wanted to give every available player minutes to play. For Düsseldorf there were four players on international duty: Aristide Bancé (Burkina Faso), Mathis Bolly (Ivory Coast), Giannis Gianniotas (Greece) and Cristian Ramírez (Ecuador) all missed out as they had the honor to play for their national teams. Piotr Ćwielong (Poland), Adnan Zahirović (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and Fabian Holthaus (Germany U19) were the three Bochum players on international duty.

So lets wrap this up. Two good teams played in a nice atmosphere, with sunshine  for a good cause. The final result, perhaps the most irrelevant point in the evening, was a 2-1 victory for Düsseldorf with two goals by Ben Halloran in each half sandwiching a first-half effort by Bochum’s Mirkan Aydın. Football heart what can you ask more for in the international match pause?

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Marco was raised in Essen but now lives in Bonn. He is a football enthusiast who went with VfL Bochum through all ups and downs of being a fan. Follow him on twitter under @MarcoVolkmar

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