Relegation: Big win in Bochum – Düsseldorf close to the Bundesliga

Relegation: Big win in Bochum – Düsseldorf close to the Bundesliga

Status: 24.05.2024 00:13

Second division club Fortuna Düsseldorf laid the foundation for promotion to the Bundesliga with an outstanding performance in the relegation first leg against VfL Bochum.

Fortuna deservedly defeated VfL 3-0 (1-0) on Thursday (May 23, 2024) in the Ruhrstadion and thus has the very best chance of securing a return to the top division next Monday (8:30 p.m., live ticker at sportschau.de). The outstanding player that evening was the Greek Christos Tzolis, who set up Philipp Hofmann’s own goal in the 13th minute and then also set up the 2-0 by Felix Klaus (64th) and the 3-0 by Yannick Engelhardt (72nd).

Relegation to Bundesliga Arrow right

In the stands, former Bochum player and noble fan Leon Goretzka suffered in his VfL jersey – but the Bayern star, who was dropped for the European Championship, did not prove to be a lucky charm.

Düsseldorf’s Thioune: “The team was brutally good”

Fortuna midfielder Marcel Sobottka then said on “Sat1”: “It’s only half time. If we can score three goals in Bochum, they can do the same against us. We can enjoy the evening today, but then we have to regenerate well and play with exactly the same intensity in the return match.”

Andreas Kramer, Sportschau, 23.05.2024 23:13

Fortuna coach Daniel Thioune praised an “outstanding” Tzolis and said: “What my team did today was brutally good. The goal for 2-0 couldn’t have been played better.” But he also warned: “The journey is not over yet. Bochum beat Bayern Munich and is the last German team to beat Bayer Leverkusen – so we need exactly the same attitude on Monday.”

Bochum defender Keven Schlotterbeck admitted: “It’s difficult after a 0-3 defeat like that, but we’ll work our asses off on Monday – we don’t want to be relegated like this. We actually did a lot of things right in the first half, but after the 0-2, not much went right.”

Sly Tzolis with the magic corner

Bochum clearly dominated the first ten minutes of the match, Düsseldorf had to sort itself out and was just waiting for a counterattack. But then the second division team took the lead with a stroke of genius. In the 13th minute, Tzolis curled a corner from the left directly onto the left inside post, from where the ball bounced off Hofmann’s lower leg.

Celebrations at Fortuna Düsseldorf’s 1-0 goal after Christos Tzolis’ corner

The VfL centre-forward wanted to signal with a waving gesture that there was no longer any danger, but he was completely wrong: The ball rolled towards the Bochum goal, where substitute goalkeeper Andreas Luthe was already far behind the line, both unluckily and unnecessarily – accordingly, the substitute for the suspended Manuel Riemann could no longer stop the rolling ball in front of the line.

Bochum’s Bernardo fails at the post

Bochum responded with furious attacks and pressed for an immediate response. They almost managed it two minutes after the 0-1, but Bernardo’s brilliant header hit the post – Florian Kastenmeier in the Fortuna goal would have had no chance.

Bochum clearly remained in control of the game, but Maximilian Wittek was offside when he scored his supposed equaliser (16th minute), and Kevin Stöger only hit the side netting with a free kick five minutes later.

Andreas Kramer, Sportschau, 23.05.2024 23:11

Fortuna is becoming more stable again and has chances

After about half an hour, Bochum’s pressure eased somewhat, Fortuna became more stable again and even had two chances to extend their lead. Tzolis failed after a lightning counterattack due to a good block from Felix Passlack, and shortly before the break, Vincent Vermeij had a volley from a tight angle, which Ivan Ordets cleared for a corner.

In the second period, Bochum initially tried to build up pressure again, but Fortuna remained extremely dangerous: In the 50th minute, Luthe fished out Felix Klaus’s long-range shot from the right corner with a classy save, and the VfL goalie also had to be wide awake for the subsequent corner from Tzolis, which the Greek again curled directly into the box.

Fortuna counterattack from the textbook

And Tzolis, who is on loan to Fortuna from Norwich City with an option to buy, was not finished with his strokes of genius for the evening. After winning the ball in their own penalty area, Fortuna launched another counterattack in the 64th minute and played it out like a textbook: Tzolis went steeply on the left and then passed perfectly into the seam of the Bochum defense to Klaus, who was attacking on the right – who gave Luthe no chance from close range.

After that, nothing more came from VfL, Düsseldorf worked hard to settle the matter in the first leg. They succeeded – and Tzolis was once again the trailblazer: with just 20 minutes to go, he curled a free kick around the wall, Luthe parried it forward, and Engelhardt only had to push the ball into the empty goal.

Andreas Kramer, Sportschau, 23.05.2024 22:46

Double aluminum prevents the fourth goal

And things could have been even worse for VfL. The defensive line had long since broken when Klaus failed to beat Luthe from a tight angle in the 82nd minute: The keeper deflected the shot so that it hit the crossbar and post and then bounced back into the field. Shortly afterwards, Luthe also had to save against Tzolis, who was desperate to reward his performance with a goal of his own – but that was really the only thing he didn’t manage that evening.

It was clear by the 89th minute at the latest that Bochum were not going to get anywhere despite all their efforts: Bernardo’s brilliant shot went past the stunned Kastenmeier and hit the crossbar again.

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