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M. Pantović (65)

Pantovic goal helps Bochum defeat Wolfsburg 1-0 in battle of the VfL's

By Ultan Corcoran   @UltanCorcoran

Another strong defensive display at home gives Bochum 3 points and the perfect start to 2022.
Manuel Riemann kept his side's 6th clean sheet of the Bundesliga season
Manuel Riemann kept his side's 6th clean sheet of the Bundesliga season
The final game of Matchday 18 witnessed the clash of the VfL’s, Bochum, and Wolfsburg, come together in an empty Ruhrstadion. Given their 12th place position on the league table halfway through the season, hosts Bochum would be considerably happy with their campaign so far. Wolfsburg on the other hand have gone through somewhat of a slump in previous months, hoping that tonight would mark a turn in fortunes for 2022 and bid to climb back into the European places.

The opening quarter of the game afforded Bochum more possession and the bulk of attempts on goal. That being said, none of their efforts troubled the green clad side from Lower Saxony, as most of the shots rained in from long range and lacked any real accuracy.

Ridle Baku went close for the away side when he unleashed a strike from the right wing. A fortunate but crucial touch from centre-half Leitsch did just enough to divert the ball left of Manuel Riemann’s upright keeping the game deadlocked. The remainder of the first half ebbed out in scoreless fashion as both teams failed to create clear goalscoring chances while cancelling each other out.

Losilla almost gave Thomas Reis’ side the perfect early start to the second half when he got on the end of a Rexhbecaj set piece. The midfielder’s goal bound header failed to threaten Casteels who comfortably gathered the powerful shot.

A Wolfsburg corner on the stroke of the game’s hour mark made its way to the unmarked Max Philipp at the back post. The German forward managed to control the ball and smash an effort towards goal, but Gamboa bravely hurled himself into the line of fire keeping the tie 0-0.

Die Unabsteigbaren managed to make it 1-0 with 25 minutes left to play. The ball found its way to the ever-energetic Holtmann who in turn crossed to find the head of Pantovic. The Serb beat both Lacroix and Casteels in the air, bringing his goal tally to three for the season.

Bochum have been a force to be reckoned with at home this season, and that told in the final 25 minutes as they remained defensively solid in the face of Wolfsburg’s attack. The North-Rhein Westphalian side made it their 6th clean sheet of the campaign, leapfrogging Monchengladbach into 11th place, while Kohfeld’s Wolfsburg remain two points above the relegation places.

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