Imago - © Bochum wore one of the most iconic kits in football during the 1990s.
Imago - © Bochum wore one of the most iconic kits in football during the 1990s.
60 years of Bundesliga

Bundesliga club-by-club historical guide: VfL Bochum


A throwback stadium and iconic kits - it can only be Ruhr district club VfL Bochum... is taking you through all the teams to have graced Germany’s first division over the last 60 years – based on the number of seasons they’ve played up to and including 2023/24.

VfL Bochum 1848
Years in Bundesliga:
 37 (1971-93, 1994/95, 1996-99, 2000/01, 2002-05, 2006-10, 2021-present)
Most appearances: Michael Lameck (518)
Most goals:
Hans-Joachim Abel (60)
Youngest player:
Dirk Drescher (17 years, five months, 13 days) 

Sandwiched between Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhr, Bochum have had to play second fiddle locally to Borussia Dortmund and Schalke in the Bundesliga. The club is one of the oldest sports organisations in the world, tracing its history back to 1848, and worked its way up to the Bundesliga in 1971. They would remain for over 20 years, earning a reputation as dogged fighters despite being perennial underdogs and the nickname Die Unabsteigbaren (the unrelegatables). 

They were finally relegated in 1993 – the first of six demotions from the Bundesliga – but have come back up again six times, including a record five bounce-back promotions whereby they have returned after just one season away. Their 2010 relegation led to a decade languishing in Bundesliga 2 before they re-joined the top flight in 2021. Their best finishes are fifth in 1996/97 and 2003/04.

Watch: Bochum recorded a famous win over Bayern in 2021/22

Nevertheless, VfL have produced three Bundesliga top scorers in Stefan Kuntz (22 in 1985/86), Thomas Christiansen (21 in 2002/23) and Theofanis Gekas (20 in 2006/07). Kuntz is among some of the notable names to have been produced by the club, starting with coaching legend Herrmann Gerland in the 1970s, through to Joel Matip, Ilkay Gündogan and Leon Goretzka now in the modern game.

And for lovers of football nostalgia, Bochum is often the place to go in the Bundesliga. They’ve been playing their home games on Castroper Straße since 1911, with the current Ruhrstadion a real throwback. Bochum also feature high on the list of unique football collectibles thanks to their 1996/97 rainbow jersey released to celebrate their first-ever UEFA Cup campaign.

Related news