Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs. VfL Bochum

Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs. VfL Bochum

Borussia Dortmund welcome VfL Bochum to Signal Iduna Park in the Bundesliga on Saturday hoping to bounce back from the disappointment of last weekend’s Der Klassiker defeat.

The loss at the Allianz Arena ended Dortmund’s pursuit of Bayern Munich’s title, whilst the visitors slipped to another defeat to leave their survival unconfirmed for another week.

Had Dortmund managed an unlikely victory away at Bayern last Saturday, then their title hopes would still have remained very slim – three points would have moved BVB to within six of the leaders with three games to play – but having their failed challenge confirmed at the hands of their rivals will have hurt.

If anything, the 3-1 scoreline, and the balance of play, summed up the obvious difference in class that still separates the two sides, and has done for 10 consecutive Bundesliga titles for the Bavarians now.

Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski netted inside the opening 45 minutes to all but kill the encounter off with Marco Rose’s side looking toothless in attack, before Emre Can’s penalty shortly after the interval provided a glimmer of hope for the visiting side.

However, Dortmund failed to kick on from that point and Jamal Musiala’s late goal condemned them to an eighth successive defeat to Bayern in all competitions.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s encounter, the hosts appear to have very little left to play for on paper, with no participation in either European competition or the DFB-Pokal, rounding off a disappointing campaign for Rose and his team.

With eight points separating Dortmund from Bayer Leverkusen in third place ahead of matchday 32 at the weekend, there remains the slim possibility of a drop down the table in the final few weeks of the campaign, but victory over Bochum on Saturday would confirm Dortmund’s second-place finish for the 2021-22 season.

Meanwhile, Bochum failed to confirm their Bundesliga survival when they hosted Augsburg in a relegation battle last time out.

Failing to find the back of the net for a third successive outing, Thomas Reis’s side fell to a 2-0 defeat on home soil to condemn them to a fourth defeat in their last six games.

However, thanks to defeats for Stuttgart and Arminia Bielefeld elsewhere on matchday 31, Bochum were fortunate to maintain their eight-point gap over the former in the relegation playoff spot, and the 10-point advantage over the latter in the automatic relegation zone.

Therefore, although Die Unabsteigbaren have avoided an automatic return to the 2.Bundesliga, there remains the extremely slim possibility of them falling into the playoff place should they fail to pick up more than a point from their remaining three fixtures.

The dependence of fellow strugglers picking up victories in all three of the final matchdays means that Bochum are all but safe to plan for back-to-back seasons in Germany’s top flight, but Reis will be keen to ensure they turn around their end-of-season slump in order to enter the summer on a high note.

Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga form:
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VfL Bochum Bundesliga form:
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We say: Borussia Dortmund 3-1 VfL Bochum
The outcome of this encounter significantly depends on the character of Dortmund to come out and bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on the title as a result of last weekend’s defeat.

Should they return to a decent performance level, they should have no problem seeing off a struggling Bochum side, although they are likely to have opportunities to find the back of the net on the counter attack against an under-performing BVB back line.

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