Thomas Letsch leaves Bochum after a six-game winless run. - © IMAGO/Mika Volkmann
Thomas Letsch leaves Bochum after a six-game winless run. - © IMAGO/Mika Volkmann

Bochum part ways with head coach Thomas Letsch


Bochum have parted ways with head coach Thomas Letsch in the wake of Matchday 28's late 2-1 defeat to Cologne, with the club's ex-U19s boss Heiko Butscher set to take charge until the end of the season.

Letsch departs with Bochum in 15th place, three points clear of safety, having secured their top-flight status with a 14th-place finish last season.

Heading into Matchday 28, the Ruhr club had four defeats and a draw in their past five matches, but looked set to end that run, leading Cologne until the final minute of the match. However, an equaliser from Steffen Tigges and a stoppage time winner from Luca Waldschmidt left the team in danger of heading into the bottom three.

"We haven't managed to stabilise ourselves in the long term and have not been as good as we could have been in recent matches," said sporting director Marc Lettau in the club's official statement. "We can still stay up under our own steam. The team has the quality to hold its own in the Bundesliga, which is why we want to provide a decisive impetus for staying up by making the switch."

Watch: Highlights from Bochum's late defeat in Cologne

Managing director Patrick Fabian added: "We recognise the achievements of Thomas Letsch and [assistant] Jan Fießer and would like to expressly thank them for their work. The emotional moments, especially after staying up last season, will always be associated with their names. In our current situation, we no longer have the conviction that we can make it in the previous setup."

Letsch himself stated: "Last season, I took over Bochum in last place in the table with just one point and we still managed to stay up thanks to a sensational performance. I will never forget this, and it is not only this special experience that will always connect me with VfL, the city and the fantastic fans. I wish Bochum all the best for the future so that, as is currently the case, the club finishes the season in a non-relegation place and continues to play in the Bundesliga next season."

Having taken over from Thomas Reis six games into the 2022/23 campaign, Letsch steered Bochum to safety on the final day, but the team find themselves in a similar position this time around, only three points clear of a resurgent Mainz in 16th and four clear of Cologne in 17th with six games to play.

Bochum’s last victory came on February 18 with a season-highlight 3-2 win over Bayern Munich at the Ruhrstadion. That result lifted them to 11th in the Bundesliga table, but the following winless streak included defeats in relegation six-pointers against Mainz and Cologne to leave the team in a perilous position.

The club have since announced that their former Under-19 coach, Heiko Butscher, would be taking up the reins until the end of the current campaign. Next up for Bochum are Bundesliga newbies Heidenheim on 13 April.