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Boys in Brown kick off at Bochum hoping to show a different face

The Boys in Brown made a losing start to the 2020/21 campaign last weekend, going out of the DFB Cup at the first hurdle after a below-par showing at fourth-tier SV 07 Elversberg. Timo Schultz’s side begin in the league on Monday evening (20:30 CET) knowing full well that they have to show a different side to themselves at VfL Bochum.

We can safely assume that a 4-2 reverse at SV 07 Elversberg and early elimination from the DFB Cup is not how the Boys in Brown envisaged their return to competitive action. The first task was to digest the defeat and analyse a performance in which the fourth-tier side had the edge in almost every department. "A lot of things came together,” said Schultz after the game. “On the one hand, mental tiredness and slow, heavy legs. On the other, the many mistakes we made as a team on the pitch.”

His team start from scratch again at VfL Bochum, hoping to get a result on the opening day with a much-improved display, of course. "We need to step up not one but several gears if we want to beat Bochum,” said Schultz. “That’s the aim. I know the lads can perform much better, after all. We were much livelier on the training ground this week and showed greater presence in our gegenpressing. We’ve done a lot of communicating and talking. These are all components we want to see in our game but were missing at Elversberg. I feel we’ve taken a step in the right direction this week.”

The players themselves know they are capable of much, much more and were extremely critical in their own analysis of the performance, making no attempt to put a gloss on things. "It simply wasn’t good enough and when that’s the case you end up with a result like that,” said Marvin Knoll. After the disappointing showing in the cup, then, the deputy captain and his teammates go to VfL Bochum aiming to get a result with an improved team performance. "We have to do the opposite of what we did against Elversberg,” said Philipp Ziereis. “You’ll see a different side to us.”

Speaking of a different side, the Bochum team that won 3-0 at fifth-tier FV 07 Engers in the DFB Cup last week showed few changes compared with last season. In Gerrit Holtmann, Bochum coach Thomas Reis named just one new signing in his starting lineup, thus placing his trust in almost the same team that banished any relegation fears with an impressive second half of the campaign that saw them finish the season in eighth place. “They’re a very homogeneous side who performed very well after the coronavirus stoppage. I don’t any teams much better than them at the moment,” said Schultz, pointing to their “stable and physically strong defence” and “dangerous attacking players” such as Silvère Ganvoula.

After a concluding analysis of the infection rate by the authorities on Monday, it is expected that 5,000 Bochum fans will be able to watch the game from the stands. The Boys in Brown thus face a difficult task in their first league game with a crowd since early March, a task they can overcome only if they can produce the much-needed and hoped-for improvement.


Photos: Witters