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After a pre-season lasting just over five weeks, Olaf Janssen's side can hardly wait to get down to the serious business of competitive football! The Boys in Brown kick off the campaign at VfL Bochum on Friday evening (kick-off: 2030 CET). As usual, we've collected a few facts on our forthcoming opponents for you.

Surprise change at the helm

To the surprise of many, VfL Bochum parted company with head coach Gertjan Verbeek on the morning of 11 July, less than three weeks before the start of the new season. The 54-year-old Dutchman had been in charge since December 2014 and was succeeded by Ismail Atalan, who was unveiled on the same day as Verbeek's dismissal. Atalan caused a minor season last season by guiding third-division outfit Sportfreunde Lotte to the quarter-finals of the DFB Cup, where they went out at the hands of eventual winners Borussia Dortmund (0-3). Aged just 37, Atalan belongs to the younger generation of coaches and stands for attractive attacking football.

Experienced new signings

Bochum dipped into the transfer market four times in summer, bringing in three players with top‑flight experience. Left-back Danilo Soares arrived from TSG Hoffenheim, while striker Lukas Hinterseer was recruited from relegated Bundesliga outfit FC Ingolstadt. Just in time for the start of the season they also signed former Bayer Leverkusen attacking utility player Robbie Kruse from Chinese Super League side Liaoning FC. In addition, Bochum secured the services of Dimitrios Diamantakos, scorer of six goals for Karlsruhe last season. And in centre-back Maxim Leitsch and goalkeeper Florian Kraft, two homegrown talents have made the step-up from the club's Under-19 ranks.


Bochum laid down an impressive marker in their final warm-up game last weekend, leading local rivals Borussia Dortmund 2-0 until the 85th minute before being forced to settle for a 2-2 draw after conceding twice in the closing stages. Stefano Celozzi and Anthony Losilla got the goals for the home side. The Ruhr outfit can look back on a successful pre-season that saw them register six wins, two draws and just two defeats (under former coach Verbeek) against RSC Charleroi (1-2) and Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk (0-2). Apart from the 2-2 draw against Dortmund new boss Atalan had a 100% record, guiding his side to victory over Rot-Weiss Erfurt (6-0), Carl Zeiss Jena (5-2) and SG Wattenscheid 09 (6-1).

Previous matches

St. Pauli fans will have fond memories of the most recent meeting between the two sides, a 3-1 away win on the final day of last season. Bochum, having once enjoyed a reputation for avoiding relegation from the top flight, are now entering their 12th second division campaign in total, which compares with 25 seasons in the second tier for the Boys in Brown. The two teams have met 16 times so far, with St. Pauli winning five, drawing eight and losing just three. Bochum's last win came three years ago, a 1-0 success at the Millerntor on 15 February 2014, while their last home triumph came in a 3-0 win four years ago. 


Photo: VfL Bochum