Germany: Play-offs 1/2
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P. Hofmann (13)
F. Klaus (64), Y. Engelhardt (72)
By Ben Sully@SullyBen

Bochum vs. Fortuna Düsseldorf preview: Who can gain a first-leg advantage?

On Thursday, Bochum will play host to Fortuna Düsseldorf in the first leg of the relegation/promotion playoff.


Bochum entered the final day of the season in 14th place and three points above the bottom three. However, by the end of matchday 34, they found themselves in the drop zone and contemplating the prospect of a relegation/promotion playoff. Die Unabsteigbaren suffered a heavy 4-1 away defeat against Werder Bremen, while Mainz 05 and Union Berlin both claimed victories to leapfrog Bochum in the league table.

Their vulnerable backline has ultimately proved to be one of the main factors behind their struggles this season. They finished the campaign with the second-worst defensive record after shipping 74 goals in 34 league matches. 

Bochum also failed to perform on the road, mustering 10 points from 17 matches to end the campaign with the joint-worst away record. With that in mind, they will be desperate to make the most of home advantage in Friday’s first leg against Düsseldorf. They may be able to take confidence from the fact they have won their last three competitive head-to-head matches, including a 5-0 win in their most recent home meeting in November 2011.

Team News

The hosts have confirmed that first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Riemann will not feature in either of the two legs. The 35-year-old has been left out due to “irreconcilable differences”. As a result, goalkeeping duties will fall to Reimann’s deputy Andreas Luthe.  Bochum are unable to call upon Michael Esser, Moritz Kwarteng, Philipp Förster, Danilo Soares and Mohammed Tolba. 

Fortuna Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf are looking to return to the Bundesliga for the first time since 2019-20. Daniel Thioune guided the club to a third-place finish after his side collected 63 points from 34 matches. They will carry significant momentum into the playoff, having avoided defeat in each of their last 14 league matches (W9, D5). 

Impressively, Düsseldorf finished the 2. Bundesliga season as the highest scorers after netting 72 goals in 34 matches. Having showcased their firepower this term, Düsseldorf will feel they have the quality required to trouble Bochum’s shaky backline.

They can also draw inspiration from their solid away record, with their 17 league road trips producing eight wins, six draws and three defeats. Düsseldorf proved to be a strong defensive force on their travels, conceding just 19 away league goals – only champions Holstein Kiel let in fewer.

They will now head to the Vonovia Ruhrstadion with hopes of beating Bochum for the first time since claiming a 2-1 victory in March 2017.

Team News

The visitors are without defender Jamil Siebert, who has missed the last two matches due to a thigh injury.

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