Bochum tops Bundesliga leader Union Berlin, moves off bottom

October 23, 2022 GMT
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From left, Berlin's Andras Schafer, Julian Ryerson and Diogo Leite react, at the end of the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfL Bochum and 1. FC Union Berlin in Bochum, Germany, Sunday, Oct 23, 2022. (David Inderlied/dpa via AP)
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From left, Berlin's Andras Schafer, Julian Ryerson and Diogo Leite react, at the end of the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfL Bochum and 1. FC Union Berlin in Bochum, Germany, Sunday, Oct 23, 2022. (David Inderlied/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Struggling Bochum defeated Bundesliga leader Union Berlin 2-1 on Sunday to move off the bottom of the table and end the visitors’ five-game winning run across all competitions.

Philipp Hofmann and Gerrit Holtmann scored, and Bochum goalkeeper Manuel Riemann also saved a penalty, as the home team claimed its second win of the season to move one point ahead of local rival Schalke, which lost 2-1 at Union’s city rival Hertha Berlin.

Union’s second league loss in 11 rounds so far is good news for 10-time defending champion Bayern Munich, which cut the gap to just one point with a 2-0 win at Hoffenheim on Saturday.

It seemed Union’s busy schedule finally took its toll on the players, who failed to match the home team’s intensity.

“I have to say that Bochum ate us up a bit today. We had few answers to it,” Union coach Urs Fischer said. “We weren’t forceful enough in the final 30 meters and gave a few gifts. The team tried everything.”

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American forward Jordan Pefok returned after missing Union’s midweek German Cup win over Heidenheim with a bad knock to his leg picked up during the league win over Borussia Dortmund last weekend.

Bochum defender Ivan Ordets was fortunate to be shown just a yellow card for a lunge at Janik Haberer’s foot early on. The Ukrainian defender apologized to Haberer, who had to go off shortly afterward.

Former Bochum midfielder Miloš Pantović replaced Haberer and was greeted by whistles from the home fans. The Serb player had 100 games for Bochum between 2018-22.

The game continued with tough challenges flying in from both sides, each effectively canceling the other.

Bochum grew stronger toward the end of the first half as Union’s defense looked uncharacteristically out of sorts. Union goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow pulled off a brilliant save to deny Jordi Osei-Tutu, but Hofmann scored from the resultant corner in the 44th.

Union had more possession in the second half, yet the home team came closer to scoring when Osei-Tutu’s shot grazed the crossbar.

Union captain Christopher Trimmel made way for the more offensive-minded Tim Skarke in the 71st and Holtmann scored Bochum’s second almost immediately afterward.

Union’s afternoon was summed up when Riemann saved former teammate Pantović’s penalty in the 78th.

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Pantović, making his first return since his summer switch, did score in injury time but it proved to be too late for Union.

“We always said internally that we weren’t going to play the bottom team, but against Bochum,” Trimmel said. “They performed very well over the last few weeks. They also have a great mentality, you could see that today. When these things come together, you can sometimes lose against a team like that.”

HERTHA WINS AT HOME

Wilfried Kanga struck late for Hertha to beat Schalke 2-1 and claim its first home win this season.

Hertha looked set for disappointment when Florent Mollet scored Schalke’s equalizer in the 85th after Hertha had wasted several chances to seal the result.

But Stevan Jovetić sent Kanga through and the Ivory Coast forward fired past Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow for his first Bundesliga goal since his summer switch from Swiss team Young Boys.

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It was a mistake from Schwolow – who is on loan at Schalke from Hertha – that looked like deciding the game.

Hertha had created little of note until Lucas Tousart let fly with a speculative effort from distance in the 49th. His centrally placed effort squirmed through Schwolow’s arms and in.

Schalke, which was promoted last season, fired coach Frank Kramer on Wednesday. Matthias Kreutzer oversaw a committed performance as interim coach but couldn’t prevent the team’s sixth consecutive defeat across all competitions.

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