An incident involving a plastic beer cup that struck linesman Christian Gittelmann caused the 2021/22 German Bundesliga's round 27 curtain raiser to be abandoned Friday night in Bochum.
With visitors Borussia Mönchengladbach leading the hosts 2-0 in the 71st minute, the DFL opted to discontinue proceedings for the evening out of safety concerns.
Very regrettably for the German Bundesliga fan scene, the first weekend that was once again set to feature full stadiums began on the darkest possible note Friday evening in Bochum. VfL Bochum supporters--who had actually been admonished early in the year for pelting Max Kruse with plastic beer cups during a round 17 fixture in December--are once again tarred with the unfortunate reputation of having acted up again.
We will report on both the match and the incident in depth in this evening's filing.
The match began with another less-than-desired piece of Bundesliga history. Neither side was able to rely upon the services of its actual head-coach. Both Gladbach's Adi Hütter and Bochum's Thomas Reis were stuck in quarantine, unable to lead their team after testing positive for COVID. Gladbach assistant Christian Peintinger, in addition to missing defender Nico Elvedi due to a positive test, also had to deal with late positive COVID tests for defender Marvin Friedrich and attacker Patrick Herrmann.
Peitinger lined his squad up in a 3-4-3. Ramy Bensebaini, Matthias Ginter, and Louis Jordan Beyer served as the center-halves. Stefan Lainer and Luca Netz worked ahead of the back-three as wingbacks. The clicking midfield tandem of Manu Kouadio Koné and Florian Neuhaus remained together, as did the attacking trident of Marcus Thuram, Alassane Plea, and Marcus Thuram.
Bochum assistant Markus Gellhaus kept the 1848ers in the same 4-1-4-1 as last week. There were two personnel rotations. Christopher Antwi-Adjei and Eduard Löwen replaced Takuma Osano and new Germany U21 call-up Patrick Osterhage. Danilo Soares was once again fit after his corona infection, but began the game on the bench.
Neither side began the match especially cagey. There nevertheless wasn't a clear-cut chance in the match until the 14th minute. Netz ended up deflecting a cross into the path of Antwi-Adjei, who forced BMG keeper Yann Sommer into a quick reaction save. The game quickly settled back into a physical stalemate. Gladbach cycled the ball through their ranks adequately and could be said to be slightly better of the game.
The next chance still came for the hosts. Highly valued German youth international Armel Bella-Kotchap pulled another quick reflex save off of Sommer with a fine header off a corner in the 37th. The duration of the first half featured little other than foul stoppages and injury timeouts. Despite the physical nature of the contests, no players were injured seriously enough to merit substitution. The second 45 began with no personnel changes.
Sommer had to be on his toes to make his third major save of the night two minutes after the restart. VfL striker Sebastian Polter got a good hold of a Konstantinos Stafylidis cross from about seven meters out. Sommer did well to dive to his left and save. The quick start to proceedings injected some energy into both teams. Chances were traded over the next eight minutes.
The foals were able to open the scoring in the 55th off a set-piece. Netz hit Plea with a long corner service. The Frenchmen took advantage of the extra time and space accorded him, cut inside, and finished through the leg of Bochum defender Erhan Masovic into the far corner. An intense period of end-to-end action followed over the next four minutes. Sommer had to stop Polter again in the 58th. Manuel Riemann had to save on Marus Thuram one minute later.
Bochum opened up a bit in search of an equalizer. Netz took advantage in the 61st. The BMG wingback shuffled out to Thuram on the left. Thuram squared for Lainer, who in turn located Embolo. Gladbach's lead striker finished cooly into the far right corner beyond Riemann. Nine more minutes of largely uneventful action took place before the aforementioned incident caused the game to be interrupted.
Linesman Christian Gittelmann was struck on the back of the head by a full plastic beer cup. Riemann and some of his Bochum teammates immediately ran over to the stands to chastise their supporters for the action. After approximately six minutes of discussion, the refereeing staff ordered both teams into the dressing rooms whilst a decision was made on whether or not the match could continue.
Some five minutes after that, official word came down from the DFL that the match would be abandoned. Gladbach players were permitted back onto the field to address their traveling supporters while the hosts remained in their locker room. The Ruhrstadion P.A. announcer instructed Bochum fans to leave the stadium.
Whether the match will be allowed to continue behind closed doors remains to be seen. It is possible that Bochum will be forced to forfeit the match by a larger scoreline than the two-goal deficit at the time of suspension. The previous incident involving Max Kruse may compel the DFL to take a hard line.
For now, the official time of abandonment stands at the 71st minute.
|38||E. Löwen ↪68|
|6||P. Osterhage ↩68|
|14||A. Pléa ⚽|
|36||B. Embolo ⚽|