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VfL Bochum
Bundesliga | Gameweek 15
Dec 16, 2023 at 2.30pm UK
Vonovia Ruhrstadion
Union Berlin logo

VfL Bochum
3 - 0
Union Berlin

Asano (45+5'), Paciencia (54'), Stoger (78' pen.)
Osterhage (20'), Stoger (90+1')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Khedira (42'), Bjelica (79'), Roussillon (85')

Preview: VfL Bochum vs. Union Berlin - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between VfL Bochum and Union Berlin, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

VfL Bochum will be aiming to avoid successive defeats when they host Union Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

The visitors, meanwhile, ended a winless streak of 16 matches in all competitions to move out of the relegation zone last weekend.


Match preview

VfL Bochum's Kevin Stoger celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on August 26, 2023© Reuters

Bochum, on the other hand, were defeated for just the fifth time in the Bundesliga this season. Thomas Letsch's side were outclassed by Hoffenheim in a 3-1 victory for the home side.

Hoffenheim had led 2-0 at half time through Erhan Masovic's own goal and Andrej Kramaric's strike. Ihlas Bebou sealed all three points for his side by scoring with 14 minutes of normal time remaining, before Goncalo Paciencia snatched a consolation goal for the visitors in the last minute.

There is certainly no reason for Letsch and his players to panic, as they had only tasted defeat in one of their previous seven matches. However, ahead of this weekend's action, only Mainz 05 have won fewer matches than Bochum's tally of two victories from 14 matches.

As such, it is little surprise that they find themselves only three points clear of the relegation zone before facing Union Berlin on Saturday. Falling to another loss would actually see their opponents leapfrog them in the table on goal difference.

FC Union Berlin players celebrate after Kevin Volland scores their first goal on December 12, 2023© Reuters

The Iron Ones will certainly travel to Bochum with greater confidence than they would have done a few weeks ago. A dismal run of 13 defeats and one draw ultimately meant that Urs Fischer's hugely successful era came to an end last month, with former Dinamo Zagreb boss Nenad Bjelica replacing him in the managerial dugout.

His opening league game could scarcely have gone any better, with Union Berlin running out 3-1 winners against Borussia Monchengladbach in the capital. Kevin Volland's dispatched penalty gave them a narrow lead at half time, before goals from Benedict Hollerbach and Mikkel Kaufmann sealed their side's first win in any competition since late August.

After drawing against Braga in the Champions League in Bjelica's first match in charge, Union Berlin required an unlikely victory against Real Madrid on Tuesday to remain in European competition. A win would have been enough to move above Braga into third spot, which results in dropping down to the Europa League in the New Year.

Once again, Volland had given his side a miraculous lead at the Olympiastadion, but Joselu's brace turned the match on its head after the break. Alex Kral gave the hosts hope by equalising with five minutes to go, but Dani Ceballos's late winner maintained the 14-time champions' perfect record in this season's competition.

As such, Bjelica and his players can fully focus on rescuing their side's unexpectedly low league position. Having finished in the top seven in each of the last three seasons, to be sitting outside of the relegation zone on goal difference after 14 matches represents a major fall from grace. The good news is that recent performances suggest an upwards trajectory, with plenty of the campaign still remaining.

VfL Bochum Bundesliga form:

Union Berlin Bundesliga form:


Union Berlin form (all competitions):



Team News

New 1.FC Union Berlin coach Nenad Bjelica during the press conference on November 26, 2023© Reuters

Bochum will remain without Michael Esser, Lys Mousset, Ivan Ordets, Mohammed Tolba and Noah Loosli due to injury. The quintet will almost certainly not feature until the New Year, while Keven Schlotterbeck is also doubtful due to illness.

Letsch could reward Paciencia with a starting berth after the former Schalke 04 scored from the bench last time out, while Christopher Antwi-Adjei provides another offensive option to provide more balance in attack for the hosts.

Union Berlin, meanwhile, will travel without Danilho Doekhi due to a foot problem. Hungary midfielder Andras Schafer made his long-awaited comeback from injury by appearing from the bench against Gladbach, but it is likely to be too soon for him to start matches at this stage of his recovery.

Having finally ended their mammoth winless run of matches last time out in the Bundesliga, it would be a surprise if Bjelica made any alterations to his starting XI from that victory.

His only change against Real in midweek was bringing in Paul Jaeckel to switch to a back five, so Hollerbach should regain his place on the flank after scoring on his second league start for the club.


VfL Bochum possible starting lineup:
Riemann; Gamboa, Masovic, Bernardo, Wittek; Losilla, Osterhage; Asano, Stoger, Antwi-Adjei; Paciencia

Union Berlin possible starting lineup:
Ronnow; Juranovic, Knoche, Leite, Roussillon; Khedira, Haberer; Hollerbach, Volland, Gosens; Behrens


SM words green background

We say: VfL Bochum 1-1 Union Berlin

Bochum will sense that they may have missed the perfect opportunity to face Union Berlin, who appear to have benefitted from making a change in management. However, the hosts have lost just one of their last nine league games at Vonovia-Ruhrstadion.

As such, we can envisage both teams settling for sharing the spoils, which may prove enough to keep both of them outside of the relegation zone depending on results elsewhere.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data


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Game History

How you voted: VfL Bochum vs Union Berlin

VfL Bochum
36.0%
Draw
20.0%
Union Berlin
44.0%
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