Germany: Bundesliga
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X M. Diaby (65)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Zoller given green light for return against Leverkusen

VfL Bochum trainer Thomas Reis will definitely be missing attacking options Jürgen Locadia and Christopher Antwi-Adjei on Sunday against Leverkusen. 

On the plus side, striker Simon Zoller has been given the green-light to potentially make his return off the bench. 
VfL Bochum trainer Thomas Reis mostly answered questions about his potential defensive deployments this weekend at his Friday presser. The promoted team's gaffer specifically committed to keeping Konstantinos Stafylidis (in great form as of late) in midfield. Additionally, Reis strongly suggested that Germany U21 star Armel Bella-Kotchap (returning from accumulated yellow card suspension) would reprise his central defensive partnership with countryman Maxim Leitsch.

"Both needed to get a bit of Bundesliga experience under their belt, especially Armel," Reis noted, "but both have developed wonderfully and reached a very good level."

Signs point to a defensive-minded 4-2-3-1/4-1-4-1 against the somewhat depleted, yet always dangerous, Werkself of visiting team trainer Gerardo Seoane. The 1848ers remain the clear underdogs against the Bundesliga's third-placed team, who overcame Bochum's spirited effort to upset them in the reverse fixture.

Both teams are carrying injuries with respect to the attack. Leverkusen star striker Patrik Schick may be fit enough to start, but Germany's red company team must still make do without the long-term-injured Florian Wirtz, Amine Adli. B04 head-coach Seoane also revealed that striker Sardar Azmoun, struggling with a cold, is also a doubt for the Sunday fixture at his Friday presser.

Reis confirmed that Jürgen Locadia (back problems) and Christopher Antwi-Adjei (unspecified) are not options for the weekend. In significantly better news, the long-awaited comeback of lead-striker Simon Zoller may be just around the corner.

Newly promoted Bochum's season appeared to be over when Zoller suffered a nasty ACL tear early in the campaign. Having already lost leading goal-scorer Robert Zulj in the offseason, the 1848ers faced a tough season in the top flight without their two main talliers.

Luckily for Reis and crew, former 1. FC Union target man Sebastian Polter stepped into the breach to contribute eight goals. Speedster Gerrit Holtmann, former FC Bayern academy man Milos Pantovic, and the newly-revived Takuma "Jaguar" Asano have also helped a great deal.

In 11th place on 35 points, VfL Bochum seem sure bets to remain in the top flight for a second season. Odds definitely increase with Zoller's return.

"The path for his [Zoller's] return has been paved for quite some time," Reis remarked with a grin, "There's nothing left to keep him out of the matchday squad. He's made a great impression in training and heads into duels without any fear."

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