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Bundesliga Relegation Playoffs | Finals | 1st Leg
May 23, 2024 at 7.30pm UK
Vonovia Ruhrstadion

VfL Bochum
0 - 3

Bernardo (71'), Losilla (90+3')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Hofmann (13' og.), Klaus (64'), Engelhardt (72')

Preview: VfL Bochum vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: VfL Bochum vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Bundesliga Relegation Playoffs clash between VfL Bochum and Fortuna Dusseldorf, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

VfL Bochum welcome Fortuna Dusseldorf to Vonovia Ruhrstadion for the first leg of the Bundesliga relegation playoff on Thursday night.

While the hosts are seeking to maintain their top-flight status for next season, the visitors are hoping to return to Germany's top tier for the first time in five years.

Match preview

Bochum's three-year stay in the Bundesliga is at risk of coming to an end after they slipped into the bottom three on the final day of the regular season following a heavy 4-1 defeat at Werder Bremen last weekend.

The Blues began the day sitting 14th in the table and one point clear of the danger zone, but defeat at Bremen as well as victories for Union Berlin and Mainz 05, has consigned them to the relegation playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Heiko Butscher was placed in interim charge following the dismissal of Thomas Letsch in April, and after collecting seven points from his first four games to boost Bochum's hopes of survival, he has since overseen two defeats by an aggregate score of 9-1, including a 5-0 loss at home to champions Bayer Leverkusen.

Only already-relegated SV Darmstadt 98 (86) have conceded more Bundesliga goals this season than Bochum (74), who have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 16 league matches dating back to January.

Keeping it tight at the back will be high on the agenda for Butscher in Thursday's first leg against a Dusseldorf outfit whom they have beaten in their last three meetings, including two second-tier wins by an aggregate score of 8-0 during the 2020-21 campaign.

In stark contrast to Bochum, Dusseldorf are in buoyant mood having put together an impressive 14-game unbeaten league run stretching back to February that includes nine victories and five draws.

Die Flingeraner have held third place in the second tier since the beginning of April and remained in the mix to secure automatic promotion heading into the penultimate week of the season, but a 1-1 draw with second-placed Holstein Kiel just over a fortnight ago has forced them to the enter the playoffs.

Dusseldorf claimed all three points in their final match of the regular season, with a superb hat-trick from Christos Tzolis - including an 88th-minute winner - securing a 3-2 home victory over Magdeburg last weekend.

Daniel Thioune's side are hoping to carry their momentum into the playoffs as they endeavour to claim their first competitive win over Bochum since March 2017 when they ran out 2-1 victors away from home in a second-tier clash.

VfL Bochum form (all competitions):

Fortuna Dusseldorf form (all competitions):

Team News

Bochum will be without Philipp Forster (hip), Michael Esser, Moritz-Broni Kwarteng and Mohammed Tolba (all knee) due to injury, while first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Riemann is unavailable for selection for both legs of this playoff tie due to an internal disagreement.

Andreas Luthe is therefore set to deputise; the 37-year-old also played between the sticks the last time that Bochum competed in the relegation playoffs over a decade ago.

The hosts will welcome back right-back Felix Passlack from suspension and he is expected to replace Tim Oermann, joining Ivan Ordets, Keven Schlotterbeck and Bernardo in the back four.

As for Dusseldorf, their only absentee is young central defender Jamil Siebert who requires an operation on a thigh injury.

Having already secured third place heading into last weekend's match against Magdeburg, Thioune was able to rest some of his star names who are expected to return to the first XI on Thursday.

Matthias Zimmermann, Tim Oberdorf and Emmanuel Iyoha are all poised to return in defence, and Yannik Engelhardt could be recalled in midfield, while 14-goal Vincent Vermeij is set to lead the line, with 24-goal Norwich City loanee Tzolis retaining his spot on the left flank.

VfL Bochum possible starting lineup:
Luthe; Passlack, Ordets, Schlotterbeck, Bernardo; Losilla, Osterhage; Broschinski, Stoger, Wittek; Hofmann

Fortuna Dusseldorf possible starting lineup:
Kastenmeier; Zimmermann, Oberdorf, De Wijs, Iyoha; Engelhardt, Tanaka; Klaus, Appelkamp, Tzolis; Vermeij

We say: VfL Bochum 2-2 Fortuna Dusseldorf

Goals are to be expected in this contest, as both sides have looked strong going forward as well as vulnerable at the back, particularly the hosts in recent weeks.

The momentum is with Dusseldorf heading into Thursday's match, but there is little to separate these two teams so an entertaining draw could be played out on this occasion.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Preview: Dusseldorf vs. VfL Bochum - prediction, team news, lineups
Premier League Table
CBayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen34286089246590
3Bayern MunichBayern34233894454972
4RB Leipzig34198777393865
5Borussia DortmundDortmund34189768432563
6Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt34111495150147
9Werder Bremen34119144854-642
13Mainz 05Mainz34714133951-1235
14Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach34713145667-1134
15Union BerlinUnion Berlin3496193358-2533
16VfL BochumVfL Bochum34712154274-3233
RFC Koln34512172860-3227
RSV Darmstadt 98Darmstadt3438233086-5617
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