Düsseldorf wins first leg: After Bochum’s defeat – great frustration deep in the West

Status: 24.05.2024 09:12 a.m.

After VfL Bochum’s bitter home defeat in the first leg of the relegation play-off against Fortuna Düsseldorf, all that remains is a call to persevere. The frustration over the largely unacceptable game is great.

To describe his look as frugal would be far too friendly and optimistic. Sitting in the stands and wearing his VfL Bochum jersey, Leon Goretzka stared into space. His face showed disbelief, horror and deep frustration.

Big win in Bochum – Düsseldorf close to the Bundesliga Arrow right

The 0:3 defeat in the first leg of his VfL’s relegation match against Fortuna Düsseldorf on Thursday evening (May 23, 2024) left deep scars on the FC Bayern football professional. Bochum can hardly prevent relegation now. And Goretzka visibly suffered as a result.

Goretzka was born in the Ruhr city 29 years ago, and it was there, at VfL, that he took his first steps into professional football. His heart is attached to this traditional club – and seemed to be broken on this sad evening.

Slogans of perseverance as a last lifeline

Horror and disappointment were also written on the faces of the Bochum players. The performance of the VfL players was largely beyond reproach. The impression that the team had already made in recent weeks under interim coach Heiko Butscher at Werder Bremen on the 34th matchday of the Bundesliga was to be confirmed. The VfL professionals presented themselves without courage and willpower against their Düsseldorf opponents who were brimming with self-confidence.

“This is a brutal day for all of us,” said Bochum’s sports director Patrick Fabian with an almost completely stony expression. Midfielder Kevin Stöger said he felt sorry for the whole of Bochum. “Bochum doesn’t deserve this,” said the 30-year-old in the catacombs of the Ruhrstadion.

On the pitch, VfL suffered a bitter and probably decisive defeat. Relegation to the 2nd Bundesliga can probably only be avoided by a football miracle.

“The straw has now become incredibly small,” said coach Butscher, adding with a view to the return match against the second division team: “Even if there is a certain emptiness now, we owe it to the club and the fans to try everything on Monday.” He will try to lead the way. Stöger: “We will not give up” Slogans of perseverance are the last lifeline for VfL.

No second division plans yet

However, it is difficult to imagine how the Bochum team, who are shockingly harmless in attack, can turn the game around against a defensively stable, counter-attacking and confident Düsseldorf team. “It sounds a bit silly now, but if Düsseldorf can score three goals here, why shouldn’t we be able to do it,” said Stöger. “We won’t give up. We still believe in ourselves.”

Sporting director Fabian thought similarly and said: “No matter how small the straw is, no matter how small the hope is, we will not stop until it is over.” A question about possible second division plans was too early for the 36-year-old. The Düsseldorf team also gave the Bundesliga team from the region a strong performance despite Bochum’s previously weak performance.

The impression that they are already planning on playing in the first league should not be created under any circumstances. “I don’t think Bochum will say: we give up, we’ve already been relegated,” said goalscorer Yannik Engelhardt. “That’s why we have to fight back on Monday.” Goalkeeper Florian Kastenmeier explained: “We’ve seen often enough in football that a 3-0 lead can be turned around.”

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