Arminia Bielefeld’s Bundesliga survival remains in the balance after losing to a late George Bello own goal in a 2-1 defeat at Bochum in the Matchday 33 opener on Friday.
Bielefeld came into the game without a win in their previous nine league outings – and Bochum immediately began determined to undermine their confidence further. Polter hit the outside of the upright inside, Gerrit Holtmann headed over when unmarked just moments later and Takuma Asano had an effort tipped onto the crossbar by Stefan Ortega, all within the first 12 minutes. Their pressure eventually took its toll when a mazy Holtmann run opened space for Milos Pantovic to cross, and his delivery was headed in at the back post by Polter. The hosts looked comfortable and goalkeeper Manuel Riemann’s only save of note was a routine stop to keep out a speculative Masaya Okugawa drive from distance. That is until Bielefeld equalised against the run of play. Gonzalo Castro curled a free-kick from the right deep towards the back post, where Joakim Nilsson thundered home a header to keep the scores level at the break.
Bielefeld brought on Janni Serra for the start of the second half as they looked for more incision in the final third but it was in defence where the difference was most noticeable, as they largely kept Bochum at arm’s length. A long-range drive from Holtmann was the hosts’ best chance of the half, while an Asano cross was just too long for Polter to connect with. The visitors made more attacking substitutions as the full-time whistle approached, needing a victory to boost their survival chances, but they were unable to seriously test Riemann again. They looked on course to at least return home with a potentially priceless point in the relegation battle, only to end up losing in heartbreaking fashion when the ball ricocheted off Bello and into the net after Ortega had kept out a close range shot from Simon Zoller. The result leaves Bielefeld two points adrift of VfB Stuttgart in the play-off spot, with just one game left to play.
- Polter scored his 10th Bundesliga goal of the season. Four of his last five have put Bochum 1-0 up.
- The forward has also registered five headed goals this term, a tally bettered only by Anthony Modeste in the Bundesliga (nine).
- Pantovic recorded his third assist of the campaign.
- Nilsson scored his first Bundesliga goal last week, and added his second here - both headers.
- Castro's assist was his first in the top flight this season.
- Bello's own goal was his first in the Bundesliga, but Bielefeld's second this term.
Watch: Bochum coach Thomas Reis gets a beer shower
Bochum: Riemann - Gamboa, Masovic, Leitsch, Soares - Pantovic (Löwen 84'), Losilla (c), Rexhbecaj (Tesche 73') - Asano (Blum 84'), Polter (Locadia 68'), Holtmann (Zoller 73')
Unused subs: Esser, Bockhorn, Antwi-Adjei, Bella Kotchap
Out: Stafylidis (suspended)
Coach: Thomas Reis
Bielefeld: Ortega - De Medina, Ramos, Nilsson, Laursen (Bello 77') - Castro (Vasiliadis 67'), Prietl (c) - Okugawa (Ince 77'), Schöpf (Hack 86'), Wimmer - Krüger (Serra 46')
Unused subs: Kapino, Schulz, Pieper, Andrade
Out: Brunner (concussion), Klos (fractured skull), Kunze (illness), Lasme (knee)
Coach: Marco Kostmann
Watch: Wimmer: "We have to stay hopeful"
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