Arminia Bielefeld take the relatively short trip Southwest to the Vonovia Ruhrstadion to take on VfL Bochum in the Bundesliga’s opening fixture of the penultimate gameweek on Friday evening.
The visitors will be desperate for all three points as they look to cling onto life in the top flight, whilst the hosts have little to play for with their safety now confirmed.
Bochum secured their survival in some style last weekend as they edged a seven-goal thriller away against the mighty Borussia Dortmund.
Having failed to find the back of the net for a third successive outing in their 2-0 loss to Augsburg the previous game, hopes were not all that high as they headed to Signal Iduna Park.
However, Die Unabsteigbaren had scored twice inside the first eight minutes, and despite then falling behind to an Erling Braut Haaland hat-trick – consisting of two penalties and a clumsy tap-in – goals in the final 10 minutes from Jurgen Locadia and Milos Pantovic secured a dramatic and unlikely 4-3 victory.
So Thomas Reis’s are now safe to plan for back-to-back seasons in Germany’s top flight, and the manager will be hoping that they can build from this victory and enter the summer on a high note.
Their upcoming opponents will likely give them a very good chance of doing just that.
Arminia Bielefeld are now on a winless run stretching to nine games, and seven of those have been defeats.
Their hopes of ending that run – and avoiding relegation – will be pinned very much on this game as, despite their shock victory last weekend, the hosts probably represent a more beatable side than Europe-chasing RB Leipzig, who Die Arminen play in their final game.
Following the dismissal of head coach Frank Kramer, they were unable to rectify their miserable run of form as they suffered a 3-1 away defeat against Koln.
Things did not look to be getting any better as fellow relegation candidates Hertha Berlin took the lead last weekend, but a dramatic 91st-minute equaliser from Joakim Nilsson has given them a ray of hope.
Mathematically, they retain a small possibility of usurping Hertha’s spot in 15th, but more realistically they can set their sights on Stuttgart in the relegation playoff spot, who remain just two points above them and well within reach.
VfL Bochum Bundesliga form:
Arminia Bielefeld Bundesliga form:
We say: VfL Bochum 1-1 Arminia Bielefeld
Whilst the home side have had the better recent form – and the better season – Arminia have so much to play for. We can see this ending as a hard-fought draw, which unfortunately for caretaker manager Marco Kostmann and his side, probably will not be enough to save them.