BOCHUM made a dream start to the 2012/13 2. Bundesliga season as the club’s midfield master and his apprentice got on the scoresheet to lead the team to a 2-1 win against Dynamo Dresden. Club stalwart Paul Freier bagged the winner three minutes from time, after 17-year-old debutant midfielder Leon Goretzka headed home in the 53rd minute to cancel out Mickaël Poté’s 27th-minute opener for Dresden. Bochum were by far the better of the two sides over the course of the match, and looked more adroit tactically, technically cleverer and sharper fitness-wise. Although Poté and experienced midfielder Filip Trojan showed occasional moments of their class, Dresden did little to inspire, even if they were ultimately let down by their inability to defend set-pieces. The day, though, will be forever remembered for yet another Freier winner, and a first ever senior goal for Goretzka – a player openly courted by Bayern Munich. As if Germany needs another precociously-talented teenage attacking-midfielder…
Bochum (4-4-2, from right to left): Andreas Luthe; Carsten Rothenbach, Marcel Maltritz, Lukas Sinkiewicz, Florian Brügmann; Goretzka, Christoph Dabrowski, Christoph Kramer, Yusuke Tasaka; Alexander Iashvili, Zlatko Dedič
Dynamo Dresden (4-4-2 from right to left): Benjamin Kirsten; Cheikh Gueye, Romain Brégerie, Vujadin Savić, Sebastian Schuppan; Robert Koch, Anthony Losilla, Yiannis Papadopoulos, Trojan; Pavel Fořt, Poté
The home side started the brightest, making stammered progress down the right-hand side. Despite a monopolisation of possession in the opening five minutes, Bochum created only one real chance to speak of in this passage of play, when Kramer – blessed with a lot more grace than his Seinfeld namesake – tried to elaborately chip Kirsten. To the relief of the Poznan-performing away supporters, the 25-year-old – who is keeping new signing Florian Fromlowitz on the bench – had his wits about him, and finger-tipped the effort to safety.
Still, the hosts continued to boss the ball and venture into Dresden’s final-third; Ralf Loose’s team more concerned with keeping their shape than playing a high-energy pressing game at this stage. The corner-kicks were coming thick and fast, but despite Dresden looking a bit rusty in defending set-pieces, and the tricky Kramer in particular causing the yellow-shirted visitors a range of problems, Bochum still hadn’t capitalised on all their territory and possession as we went beyond the ten-minute mark.
When the visitors did have possession, they always looked to start from a roll-out by Kirsten, before knocking it out about slowly and horizontally in their own half. However, Bochum weren’t fooled – only the strikers and one midfielder at most pressed the ball-holder, with the rest of the outfield players holding the two banks as near to the halfway line as possible, refusing to give Dresden the splices they were seeking. As we approached the quarter-hour mark, though, Dresden began to offer more in attack. This was due to better movement from the midfield, with Losilla now making more vertical runs, and Trojan floating inside, and looking to get involved.
But, only the hosts looked capable of making things happen once in the final-third. Bochum’s forays forward were sharper, cleverer and imbued with confidence and determination. As a team, Bergmann’s XI looked more familiar with one another than Loose’s did – especially the latter coach’s defence, which too often looked positionally questionable and subjugated by the blue-shirted attackers.
However, although the busy and doughty Iashvili and Dedič were at the heart of everything in the opening 15 minutes, Dresden striker Poté began to grow into the game at the other end of the pitch as we neared the 20-minute mark. The first sign of life from the Beninese striker came when he dropped to collect the ball in midfield. Impervious to the fact he had no colleagues bobbing around to help him out, Poté held off three blue-shirted players looking to nick the ball off him to win a free-kick. This set-piece led to a corner, of which Trojan launched a cross-cum-shot into the box from the second-ball. Getting ahead of his man to divert this ball goalwards was the quick-thinking, poacher’s instinct-endowed Poté, who drew a fine reflex save from a relieved Luthe.
After that, it was probably no surprise when the Lyon-born 27-year-old poked the visitors into a 1-0 lead. Capitalising on some lackadaisical defending from the high-standing Bochum backline and sleepy midfield, plus a slip from Sinkiewicz, Poté was played through into a one-on-one situation with Luthe by Koch (a first-time flash-of-inspiration pass after he was fed equally sharply by Losilla). Despite the back-tracking Maltritz having a fistful of his shirt and the onrushing goalkeeper running in his direction with no intention of applying the brakes, Poté kept his cool, and handed Dresden a lead that would have seemed incomprehensible in the opening quarter-hour.
The ten minutes played out after Dresden had got their goal were frenetic, end-to-end and highly enjoyable. Bochum were determined to get back on level terms before Loose fastened the bolt, but found life much more difficult against a defence with the sense of belief that comes with having something to hold on to. However, it was the away side who had the two chances of note before the half-time whistle, with Trojan finding room to sting Luthe’s fingertips just off the D, before Poté directed a header into the 25-year-old custodian’s hands (a minute later, the Dresden attacker – so elusive to the Bochum defence – found space again in the box to get a header off, but wildly miscued it). The relative inexperience of the Bochum midfield was beginning to show, and this no doubt would have been occupying Bergmann’s thoughts as he trudged off to the dressing room at half-time.
Second half starting formations
Bochum (4-4-2, from right to left): Luthe; Rothenbach, Maltritz, Sinkiewicz, Brügmann; Goretzka, Dabrowski, Kramer, Tasaka; Iashvili, Dedič
Dynamo Dresden (4-4-2 from right to left): Kirsten; Gueye, Brégerie, Savić, Schuppan; Koch, Losilla, Papadopoulos, Trojan; Fořt, Poté
There were no changes made by either coach for the second half, and nor had any tweaks been made to the systems. However, Loose had clearly amended his tactics, as Dresden were now sat far deeper, and showed the same reluctance to get on the ball as they had done at the start of the match. In the early stages of the half, players who had been conspicuous only by their absence in the first 45 minutes such as Tasaka showed their intention to get involved and make things happen. Not only that, but players who had started brightly before fading such as Iashvili were now coming to the fore once again. And, it was the Georgian who first won and then swung in the free-kick that allowed 17-year-old midfielder Goretzka to head in a 53rd minute equalizer! Once again, though, the Dresden defenders didn’t cover themselves in glory when faced with a set-piece. The marking was static, and not one outfield player showed the desire to take joint command of Kirsten’s box.
The momentum remained with the hosts after the goal, as they spread out, making the pitch big and knocking the ball from channel to channel. With Dresden struggling to regroup and get a foot on the ball, Bochum kept their guests penned-in for a several-minute spell. This allowed the home side’s full-backs to maintain the midfield width, with Tasaka in particular briefly moonlighting as a centrally-based playmaker. But it was the veteran Iashvili, acquired from relegated Karlsruhe in the summer, who was now taking centre-stage for Bochum; showing energy, vision and command in the Bochum attack, and creating a number of chances for his colleagues.
To quell the tide, Loose made a change, replacing Fořt with French midfielder Idir Ouali. Shortly after, Bergmann also opted to make his first substitution, replacing Brügmann with Mounir Chaftar (like-for-like). Soon after, Dabrowski was replaced by Freier (who went onto the right flank, with Goretzka moving infield alongside Kramer), while for the away side, Trojan came off for Hasan Pepic (who went to a support-striker role behind Poté, with Ouali playing on the left flank). The changes brought about an abatement in the one-sided nature of the match, with the pace slowing down and the attacks becoming more even. However, there was still a paucity of chances, with the requisite energy or imagination too often lacking from attacks or passes in the final-third.
Inside the final ten minutes, both coaches brought on their final substitute in quick succession. Firstly, Goretzka went off to rapturous applause and name-chanting, replaced by the garishly-coiffeured Marc Rzatkowski. Loose made a like-for-like change too, replacing Papadopoulos with the experienced David Solga. But, in the 87th minute, disaster struck for the visitors. Another Iashvili delivery, this time from a left-sided corner-kick, caught Dresden’s defence sat far too deep and inattentive, allowing Freier the chance to volley in a simple winner!
The hosts easily held on to their lead in the closing stages, with the indefatigable Dedič – on-loan at Dresden last season – continuing his sterling work down the channels in dragging men across (and at this late stage, in wasting time). While this result – or more specifically, how it came about – is obviously something of a fairytale start for Bochum, they’ll face a stern test next weekend when they travel to Paderborn (buoyed by yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin). Dresden, meanwhile, probably face a long week of corner-kick practice in training. They host 1860 Munich next weekend; a side who will be looking to build on a 1-0 win over Jahn Regensburg earlier today.
The formations that finished the match
Bochum (4-4-2, from right to left): Luthe; Rothenbach, Maltritz, Sinkiewicz, Chaftar; Freier, Rzatkowski, Kramer, Tasaka; Iashvili, Dedič
Dynamo Dresden (4-4-1-1 from right to left): Kirsten; Gueye, Brégerie, Savić, Schuppan; Koch, Losilla, Solga, Ouali; Pepic; Poté