Fortuna are currently struggling for form, they are underperforming, but still have the best chances to top the table after the last round, as their followers are not doing better, either. Funkel is faithful to the 4-2-3-1 system, which can quickly become 4-1-4-1. It remains to be seen which one is best to close down Bochum’s key player, Kevin Stöger, without ignoring the dangerous forward runs from Losilla and Tesche. The midfield line looked very unsafe in Darmstadt, cracking under high pressure, misplacing passes in dangerous areas and linking the defense and attack with difficulty. This was obvious in the second half, when they had numerical advantage on the pitch, but were unable to reach the final third and only created two clear cut chances. Haraguchi and Usami look set on the wings, without pressure from the bench, as Raman will probably miss this game, after not being able to train during the short week. They both seem to be the weak spot when defending, as they don’t always drop to help their full back partner. This could bring some unhappy moments for Düsseldorf, as Bochum has very fast wings, which might need 2v1 defending at times.
A big disadvantage for the hosts is that they had a short training week and don’t have fresh legs for the attack. Their physical condition doesn’t seem very good, as they ran only 1.65 km more than Darmstadt, which played 47 minutes one man down. The only two returnees to the starting lineup are Gießelmann and Bodzek, displacing injured Schmitz and unconvincing Bormuth.
If they have some problems to create chances from open play, Fortuna is highly dangerous from set pieces. The best example is their last home game against Bielefeld. When everything seemed to run against them, with the guests leading 2-1 and missing a great chance to make it 3-1, Düsseldorf turned the game after two corner kicks in just a few minutes and had no problem to keep and even increase their advantage against a groggy opponent. They have actually created 30 home scoring chances (8 goals) from this kind of situations.
Robin Dutt main task for this match is to keep his players with their feet on the ground. Although unbeaten for 5 rounds and one of the most in form teams in the league, Bochum haven’t gained anything yet and is only 3 points above 16th place. In contrast to their opponents, VfL’s midfield proved extremely safe last round, when they probably delivered the best performance of the season (2-0 vs Eintracht Braunschweig). VfL’s system is no secret; the new coach didn’t want to change much from the tactical point of view – 4-2-3-1 when attacking and 4-4-2 behind the ball. With that safe midfield, Stöger can stay in an advanced position when his team starts the action and receive the ball between the opposite lines. He enjoys a lot of freedom to roam in the position where he feels he has most space to receive and send his brilliant passes. The two wingers, Kruse and Sam are the main targets for those passes; they are fast and frequently change places. Another destination is, obviously, top striker Hinterseer, who is on fire after netting five times in the last two rounds. The full backs are very offensive, especially Danilo on the left, so he could benefit from the poor defensive work of his direct opponent, Usami.
A clear sign that Bochum enjoys playing under Robin Dutt is the mileage statistics, improved by almost 4 km per match, compared to the period under Jens Rasiejewski. This value is also much better than Fortuna’s, averaging 5.5 more km per match, in the last five rounds (119.3 km vs 113.8 km).
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Rensing, Wiesner, Hoffmann, Schmitz, Raman (injured)
VfL Bochum: –
Possible lineups and team shapes