VfL Bochum vs Bayern Munich: Preview and Prediction

Matchday 22 in the Bundesliga concludes on Sunday evening as a faltering Bayern Munich travels to Vonovia Ruhrstadion to face VfL Bochum.

The 2023/24 season seems to have reached breaking point for Bayern Munich, who will be out to get back to winning ways when they travel to play relegation-threatened VfL Bochum in their next Bundesliga assignment.

The German champions now trail Bayer Leverkusen by five points after their 3-0 humiliation at the hands of Xabi Alonso’s side last weekend. They then lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2021 after being defeated 1-0 in midweek away to Lazio in the first leg of the Round of 16 tie, where Thomas Tuchel’s men failed to register a single shot on target.

The Bavarians will seek an immediate response this weekend before Lazio come to visit for the return match. But it won’t be as simple as showing up and collecting all three points.

While Bochum have not been spectacular in the league this season, they have proven resilient. Die Unabsteigbaren have picked up only one defeat at Vonovia Ruhrstadion in 13 games this season and are currently unbeaten in their last seven home games, including three wins and four draws.

Sitting in 14th place in the Bundesliga, the hosts are six points off the relegation zone, so they are not safe yet. They played out a 1-1 draw away from home against Eintracht Frankfurt in their most recent match on February 10, and Thomas Letsch’s side will sense that they can take something from this match with Bayern’s confidence dwindling.

Team News & Tactics

VfL Bochum

Bochum will be unable to call upon the services of midfielder Matus Bero, who picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign against Eintracht Frankfurt last week and will serve a one-match suspension.

Mohammed Tolba has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury, and goalkeeper Michael Esser is still a few weeks away from returning to fitness following an injury to his knee.

Thomas Letsch will again opt for a standard 4-3-2-1 formation, with Manuel Riemann keeping his place between the posts. Ahead of him will be the back four of Tim Oermann, Keven Schlotterbeck, Ivan Ordets, and Bernardo.

Anthony Losilla, Patrick Osterhage, and Kevin Stoger will hold the midfield for the home side, with Christopher Antwi-Adjei and Moritz Broschinski as options from wide areas, with Philipp Hofmann leading the attack.

Probable Lineup (4-3-2-1): Riemann; Oermann, Masovic, Ordets, Bernardo; Osterhage, Stoger, Losilla; Antwi-Adjej, Broschinski; Hofmann

Bayern Munich

Thomas Tuchel’s list of absentees remains lengthy, as he cannot call upon Kingsley Coman (hamstring), Serge Gnabry (groin), Konrad Laimer (calf), and Bouna Sarr (knee), while Alphonso Davies is doubtful due to a muscular injury.

It remains to be seen whether the former PSG coach will stick or twist with the same defence following midweek events, with Dayot Upamecano yet again showing his error-prone side, while Kim Min-jae received criticism for looking jaded.

Should the Bayern Munich boss opt to shake things up in defence, it could open the door for Matthijs de Ligt to return to the starting lineup, while Tottenham Hotspur loanee Eric Dier faces a battle to force his way back after failing to impress against Bayer Leverkusen.

Noussair Mazraoui and Raphael Guerreiro are expected to take up full-back roles, with Manuel Neuer in goal. Joshua Kimmich and Aleksandar Pavlovic are expected to form the midfield pivot, with Thomas Muller playing slightly ahead in the advanced role.

Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane should be the wide attackers, with Harry Kane leading the line for the Bavarians against Bochum. Bayern responded to their injury absences in attack by bringing the arrival of Spanish winger Bryan Zaragoza to January, though he was unavailable through illness against Leverkusen and Lazio and remains a major doubt here.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Mazraoui, De Ligt, Kim, Guerreiro; Kimmich, Pavlovic; Sane, Muller, Musiala; Kane

Key Stats

  • Bochum have avoided defeat in nine of their ten home Bundesliga games, winning three of their last five.
  • Bayern Munich have failed to win two of their last four away league matches.
  • Bayern Munich have won three straight meetings with Bochum.
  • Bayern Munich have scored 17 goals against Bochum in the last three meetings.
  • Bayern Munich have won six of their last eight Bundesliga games.

Player to Watch

Thomas Muller

Embed from Getty Images

Bayern Munich have lost the knack of scoring important goals. In fact, they are just not scoring enough goals full stop, with Harry Kane and co. having not registered more than once in six of their last nine away games in all competitions. Although Kane has taken precedence in attack, Muller’s influence has waned this season.

At a crucial juncture of their campaign, the Bavarians may need their leader to stand up once again. His positional versatility, technique, awareness, tactical intelligence, and combination play are things which make the craft of scoring team goals look easy. The veteran forward will surely be eager to help his team get all three points to get back on track here.


VfL Bochum 1-2 Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich, and especially Thomas Tuchel, are in a tight spot this weekend. Despite the fact that the team’s confidence is likely to be at an all-time low, both the Champions League tie and the Bundesliga battle may still be salvageable, and Bayern Munich’s firepower should not be underestimated.

They also do not have to cast their minds too far back to recall a thumping win over Bochum, either after Kane-inspired seven-goal hammering at the Allianz Arena in the reverse fixture back in September. The Hard Tackle predicts the visitors to come out on top in this one to stay on the heels of Leverkusen and push Bochum closer to relegation trouble.

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