In an interview with Germany's main sporting tabloid, former VfL Bochum attacker Robert Zulj admitted that he could envision a return to the Bundesliga.
The 1848ers of VfL Bochum could certainly use the services of 29-year-old Austrian International Robert Zulj this season. Zulj's 15 goals and 15 assists were a big part of the club's promotion campaign last year. Many wondered how the NRW club could possibly hope to replace him in their tough survival fight back in the Oberhaus.
Matters went from bad to worse for Bochum when they lost their other main reliable goal-scoring threat Simon Zoller to injury just prior to round five. The team is now winless in its last five league fixtures and find themselves second-to-last in the table. While still three points ahead of fellow newcomers Fürth, 0-7 and 0-3 defeats to Bayern and Leipzig have robbed the squad of confidence.
Keeper Manuel Riemann blasted his teammates for their defensive lapses following the most recent loss. In an interview appearing in the Thursday print edition of German footballing magazine Kicker, sporting director Sebastian Schindzierlorz admitted that staying in the league would pose an enormous challenge.
Zulj surprised many by opting for a move to the U.A.E. when staying with his German club afforded him a chance to once again play in the Bundesliga for the first time since his ill-fated stint with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim during the 2017/18 campaign.
"I enjoy it very much to have so much sun," Zulj said of his new home on the Arabian Peninsula, "of course a footballer likes to play in full stadiums before many fans. I watch all of Bochum's games and when I see the return of the season ticket holders and the sort of atmosphere that prevails, I often think to myself 'Wow! That would really be great to experience again!'"
The journeyman of the lower German footballing divisions emphasized that he did not regret his move to Al-Ittihad Kalba SC. He declared himself happy and said that he and his wife were pleasantly surprised to discover that the their personal affairs (when it came to issues of women's rights) were "less complicated than anticipated" in the Emirates.
When it came time to speak of Bochum once again, however, Zulj let slip that they were also quite content back in Germany.
"My wife and I felt incredibly comfortable there," he noted, "The city. The team. The coaching staff. The board of directors. Everything is great. Of course I can imagine a return."
"I have a good relationship with 'Sesi' [sporting director Schindzierlorz]," he added, "You never know what will happen. I have a two year contract here, but clubs are very open about transfers. My agent is touch with many German clubs. For now I'm just doing my best until January. Then I'll take a step back and re-evaluate everything."
Bochum pocketed €350,000 from Zulj's sale in the offseason. It was the only incoming cash the club managed to secure. The Wels-native's current market value is listed as €2.5 million on transfermarkt.