Bochum surprises Fortuna Düsseldorf on penalties to survive play-off scare

Bochum will remain in the Bundesliga for the 2024/25 season after staging a stunning comeback in the second leg of the promotion/relegation play-off, ultimately beating Fortuna Düsseldorf on penalties after overturning a 3-0 first-leg deficit.

Fortuna Düsseldorf 0-3 Bochum (3-3 on aggregate; Bochum wins 6-5 on penalties)
Goals: 0-1 Hofmann 18′ (help: Stöger)0-2 Hofmann 66′ (assist: Stöger)0-3 Stöger (pen. 70′)

Buoyed by the security of their 3-0 first leg victory last week, Düsseldorf started confidently and sent a statement of their intent in the first minute when Ao Tanaka’s deflected effort just outside the penalty area narrowly missed. Undeterred and with no time to waste, Bochum gradually took the initiative as they looked to get back into the tie and Kevin Stöger soon had a long-range shot of his own, his shot whizzing just off target. The Austrian was involved again as Bochum took the lead, thanks to his teasing delivery from a deep free-kick headed home from close range by Philipp Hofmann. The visitors remained in the lead – although their attacks were punctuated by frequent counter-attacks from Düsseldorf – and Lukas Daschner almost reduced the gap further just before half-time with a looping effort that was passed to the wrong side of the field. the post office.

The match followed the same pattern after the break and Fortuna needed a superb final strike from Tim Oberdorf to thwart Daschner from close range, denying what looked certain to be Bochum’s second goal of the evening. However, the away team didn’t have to wait long to change all that, with the complexion of the match completely changing within four minutes. First, Stöger sent an inviting cross from the right into the box for Hofmann to head home his second of the match, leaving Bochum needing just one more goal to level the tie on aggregate. They found it moments later when Stöger converted from the penalty spot after a handball decision against Matthias Zimmerman. They almost completed the turnaround seconds later when substitute Takuma Asano’s header drew a brilliant diving save from Florian Kastenmeier.

Asano was in the thick of the action again as the final whistle approached, narrowly missing Patrick Osterhage’s ball into the penalty area. This took the match to extra time, where Bochum needed two spectacular goal-line clearances in the second half to stay afloat, before finally equalizing in the most dramatic fashion on penalties.

Watch: Bero: “When you believe, everything is possible”

Match statistics

  • Hofmann scored his fifth and sixth competitive goals of the season. All six have come since the winter holidays, including four from the head.
  • Bochum have scored 13 of their 42 goals (31%) from set pieces in the Bundesliga in 2023/24, and added another here.
  • Stöger’s assists brought him into double figures for the season (11).
  • The promotion/relegation play-offs have only taken place in extra time once since the reintroduction of the match in 2009; in 2014/15, Hamburg equalized in the last minute against Karlsruhe and then won in extra time.
  • It was the first time that a play-off had taken place on penalties since the reintroduction of the match. Before that, it was 1987/88, when Bundesliga side Mannheim got the better of Darmstadt.
  • Bochum’s only play-off match since the game’s reintroduction in 2008/09 saw them fail in their bid for promotion in 2010/11, losing 2–1 on aggregate to Borussia Mönchengladbach.


Dusseldorf: Kastenmeier (c) – Zimmermann, Oberdorf, De Wijs (Hoffmann 97′), Iyoha – Engelhardt, Tanaka (Bergmann Jóhannesson 75′) – Klaus (Niemiec 75′), Sobottka (Uchino 83′), Tzolis – Vermeij (Daferner 83′ )
Unused subscribers: Niemczycki, Quarshie, Appelkamp, ​​Mustapha
Out: Siebert (thigh)
Coach: Daniel Thioune

Bochum: Luthe – Oermann (Loosli 58′), Ordets, Schlotterbeck, Wittek – Losilla (c) (Mašović 99′), Bero – Passlack (Asano 58′), Stöger (c), Daschner (Osterhage 82′) – Hofmann (Paciência 90 ‘+7)
Unused subscribers: Thiede, Gamboa, Römling, Elezi
Out: Antwi-Adjei (injured), Bernardo (suspended), Broschinski (injured), Esser (knee), Förster (hip), Kwarteng (knee), Riemann (not included), Tolba (knee)
Coach: Heiko Boucher

Watch: Highlights of the first leg

First leg report

Fortuna Düsseldorf took a big step towards securing a place in the Bundesliga for 2023/24 with a resounding 3-0 victory at Bochum in the first leg of the play-offs.

Bochum 0-3 Fortuna Dusseldorf
Goals: 0-1 Hofmann (j. 13′), 0-2 Klaus 64′ (assist: Tzolis), 0-3 Engelhardt (72′)

With so much at stake, it was perhaps inevitable that the match would start at a frenzied pace, with the players whipped into a frenzy by the home crowd. Bochum saw a succession of shots blocked following a Kevin Stöger corner before Fortuna surprised their hosts by taking the lead. Christos Tzolis took Bochum goalkeeper Andreas Luthe by surprise by heading straight towards goal with a corner from the left, his shot hitting the near post, ricocheting off Philipp Hofmann and skipping over the line. The hosts responded almost instantly, with Bernardo hitting the posts from another Stöger corner moments later, while Stöger himself narrowly missed the target with a fiendish free-kick. There was little else to see in Düsseldorf’s final third, although Tzolis was lively on the left and sent a few efforts from distance over the bar.

Bochum started the second half determined to make amends and they initially camped in Düsseldorf’s half, but without making a serious breakthrough towards the Fortuna goal. The face of the match – and indeed the tie – then changed completely within eight minutes when Tzolis led a counter-attack down the left before playing a superb pass to Felix Klaus to slot in. Tzolis was involved in his team’s third goal. shortly afterwards he fired a brilliantly disguised free kick at goal, sending Luthe scrambling to save – and presenting Yannik Engelhardt with a simple strike to make it 3-0. Klaus almost added a fourth in the closing stages when his shot on the turn hit the post, denying his team what would surely have been the final blow. As things stand, however, Düsseldorf has one foot in the Bundesliga ahead of Monday’s second leg.

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