VfL Bochum – Eintracht Braunschweig preview

After the international break we dive directly into the hot relegation battle

The high expectations from the beginning of the season quickly vanished on both sides, as they are now looking down rather than to the top of the table. VfL Bochum seems to have finally found peace under Robin Dutt after a turbulent season, with lots of internal disputes. The new coach didn’t change much in terms of tactics, but really helped the team regain the self confidence. Bochum plays in a 4-2-3-1 system on the ball, with Losilla, back after suspension, dropping between the central defenders, allowing the full backs to advance forward. Since Dutt’s arrival, the two wingers switched positions, Kruse plays right and Sam left, but they often change sides during a game, or sometimes they both play on the same side to outnumber and confuse the opponents. Bochum defends in a 4-4-2 shape, Losilla advances in midfield to block the passing angles together with Robert Tesche, the full backs and wingers drop, while key midfielder Kevin Stöger advances in line with lone striker Lukas Hinterseer. As soon as the ball is regained, it is quickly sent to Stöger, who easily finds solutions with his killer passes. Losilla’s return should stabilize the defense, which didn’t look good in Sandhausen, conceding two goals after the first two scoring chances. We could see Gyamerah instead of unsafe Fabian. The hopes in attack rely again on Lukas Hinterseer, who is in top form after scoring a hattrick last round, but also on the fast wingers. Robin Dutt has all players available, so the regulars should put on a good performance, as there is a lot of pressure from the bench.

Eintracht’s coach, Torsten Lieberknecht, have been in office for almost 10 years, but his journey seems to end after this season. He has constantly changed his team’s system, mainly due to injuries, but the results are still disappointing. Braunschweig plays in a 4-4-2 / 4-2-2-2 system, with the wingers alternating between hugging the touchline and keeping a half central position. The attacking patterns of the lions rely mainly on long balls to the strikers, who are strong in the air and create space for their offensive colleagues, or for Jan Hochscheidt’s forward runs. It remains to be seen how the guests will cancel Bochum’s midfield trio, as one of the strikers must drop when defending. But Nyman is missing due to a slight injury and this is a big problem for Lieberknecht. With his defensive work, he would have been the right person to balance the midfield when Bochum had the ball. Winter signing Philipp Hofmann could replace him, he is stronger, but not mobile. Zuck could play on the left wing with Abdullahi moving in line with Domi Kumbela. This way Eintracht would lose speed on the left wing, but will gain mobility in the central zone. The defenders are very strong, so they will probably not have much trouble with high balls for Hinterseer. They are also slow and it’ll be exciting to see how they’ll cope with Bochum’s fast wingers. Boland and Hochscheidt must show all their class in order to block the passing angles from Stöger to his offensive colleagues.

I would say the main problem for the guests is the self confidence, as it was seen last round against Duisburg. Eintracht had the match under control at half time, leading 3-0, but they ended up desperately defending a 3-2 lead after a miserable second half. So, they are struggling to stay focused for 90 minutes, opposite to what VfL have shown under Robin Dutt, with last round’s comeback (3-2 after 0-2) being a very good example.

Missing players
VfL Bochum: –
Eintracht Braunschweig: Baffo, Biada, Breitkreuz, Nyman (injured), Yildirim (flu)

Possible lineups and team shapes

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Serban Ciulei

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