bundesliga

Bochum and Borussia Dortmund ready to go again in "little" Revierderby

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With Borussia Dortmund deprived of a Bundesliga meeting with Schalke this season, Bochum have stepped into the breach, providing fans with a so called “little Revierderby” that will put Ruhr district bragging rights on the line this weekend.

Not since 1991 has the German top-flight been without a Revierderby fixture between Schalke and Dortmund - a game that draws lines in the sand locally and captures the imagination of football fans all over the world.

But as Schalke’s 30-year stay in the Bundesliga came to an end last term, Bochum rose to the top for the first time in 11 years.

That ensured Gelsenkirchen kept a derby to fan the flames of regional rivalries, with just 15 minutes separating Bochum’s stadium from Dortmund’s - eight fewer in the car than it will take you to get from Schalke’s Veltins Arena to the BVB’s Signal Iduna Park.

It was a while coming for these two to renew acquaintances earlier this season. Last December's meeting - a 1-1 draw at the Vonovia-Ruhrstadion - was the first of its kind since BVB's 4-1 victory in Bochum in March 2010.

Marcel Schmelzer (r.) is the only senior squad member still at either club to have played in the last "little" Revierderby. - Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images

Marcel Schmelzer is the only survivor in the playing ranks of either squad from that game 12 years ago, but the left-back hasn’t featured for Dortmund since June 2020 due to a long-term injury.

Of the previous 61 times these two have met at the pointy end of Germany’s footballing pyramid, Dortmund have claimed 24 wins, Bochum 16 and they have shared 21 draws. Sebastian Polter and Julian Brandt were on target in the teams' last stalemate on Matchday 15 this term.

BVB are unbeaten in six against Bochum - a run that dates back to VfL’s most recent triumph in March 2007.

It was then that a brace from former Greece international Theofanis Gekas secured all three points for his side as Bochum ended the campaign in eighth place - a point ahead of their neighbours in ninth.

Bochum’s 12th-placed finish the following year again bettered Dortmund’s position in the league by one, with that 2007/08 season the last time that Die Unabsteigbaren outpointed Die Schwarzgelben in the Bundesliga.

Theofanis Gekas (r.) struck twice to hand VfL Bochum their most recent win over neighbours Borussia Dortmund in March 2010. - /

Eventual relegation in 2009/10 was made harder for Bochum when they had to watch on from Bundesliga 2 as Dortmund claimed back-to-back German championships in 2010/11 and 2011/12.

It’s been a long way back ever since for Bochum, but they have at times been punching above their weight on their return to the German top-flight this season, and will be looking forward to the opportunity to go up against Dortmund once more.

Thomas Reis’ men - currently 13th in the standings - would secure their top-flight status with victory against Dortmund this weekend, while a point could also suffice for Saturday's visitors, depending on results elsewhere. Not that the task for VfL will be easy given they've have lost their last eight Bundesliga trips to Dortmund, dating back to a 1-0 win on 13 September 1998.

Watch: Bochum and Dortmund played out an entertaining draw earlier this season 

Marco Rose’s team ultimately lost out to Bayern Munich in the race for the Bundesliga title, the Bavarians clinching a tenth straight Meisterschale last weekend, but there are still goals to be achieved for Dortmund. Securing second place, for example, will be on BVB's minds when Bochum visit SIGNAL IDUNA PARK at the weekend.

Erling Haaland will also be keen to find the net against Reis's men with Bochum being one of only three Bundesliga clubs the Norwegian has failed to score against, VfB Stuttgart and Arminia Bielefeld being the other two.

Sebastian Polter is Bochum’s top scorer this season with eight Bundesliga goals and both he and Haaland will be out to put their names on the fixture’s list of leading marksmen, currently topped by Hans-Joachim Abel (Bochum) and Andreas Möller (Dortmund) on seven goals.

Whatever way you look at it, the younger Revierderby is set to supply us with enough top class entertainment to rival its elder sibling.