Got the Bochum bug following their return to the big time, but want to know even more about the 2020/21 Bundesliga 2 champions? bundesliga.com fills in the blanks...
Bochum - or VfL Bochum 1848 to give them their full name - are not quite as old a football club as you might think. The clue lies in the VfL part of their title, something they share with the likes of Wolfsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach. It stands for Verein für Leibesübungen - Association for Physical Exercise - and harks back to the 19th century development of sports clubs to improve the health of the population, namely through gymnastics.
The separate football entity of the association kept the highly impressive founding date when it was formed in 1949. Their on-pitch performances were somewhat less eye-catching, however, as they only popped out of the backwaters of amateur regional football to reach the DFB Cup final in 1968.
Three years later, Bochum were promoted to the Bundesliga for the first time, and they stayed there for 22 years, finishing a club record third in 1973/74. They yo-yoed between the top flight and Bundesliga 2 for the next 17 years after that, with the high point being a fifth-placed finish - and UEFA Cup qualification - in 1997. It was a feat they emulated in 2003/04.
Bochum were relegated and promoted one more time before the 2009/10 season, when they slipped into German football's second tier again. They remained there for more than decade, before being promoted once again in 2020/21.
Bundesliga 2 champions: 1993/94, 1995/96, 2005/06, 2020/21
Regionalliga West champions: 1969/70, 1970/71
Thomas Reis made nearly 200 appearances for Bochum between 1995 and 2003, returning to the club following the end of his playing career to take charge of the women's team in 2011. He worked as assistant first-team coach twice, assistant reserve-team coach and U19 boss, before moving to Wolfsburg for a three-year spell in charge of their U19s. Reis returned to his spiritual home in September 2019 to replace the departed Robin Dutt, steering the side out of trouble in his first senior role before taking the team to new heights in 2020/21.
Reis even convinced the squad to go into a late-season training camp, and a contract extension - signed in February and running through to 2023 - suggests the club are happy for the 47-year-old to let his squad express themselves.
Watch: Thomas Reis' beer shower after steering Bochum to promotion
Simon Zoller enjoyed the most prolific season of his career in 2020/21, producing 15 goals and 10 assists. The well-travelled striker, who has played for five different German clubs, has prior top-flight experience. He made 76 Bundesliga appearances during a three-year spell at Cologne, scoring 11 goals.
Unbeaten but sluggish out of the blocks with just one win from their opening three games, Bochum won nine more and lost only three en route to the midway point of the season. They were second at that stage, three points behind leaders Hamburg.
It was all-or-nothing in the Rückrunde, though fortunately for Reis it was more 'all'. Ten wins - and not a single draw - in the first 15 matches of the campaign's second half pushed them to the brink of the big time. A 1-1 draw at Nuremberg on Matchday 33 guaranteed them at least a place in the promotion play-offs, before a 3-1 triumph over Sandhausen on the final day of the season sent them up as champions.
Football has been played on the site of the club's Ruhrstadion since 1911, but - as you might imagine - the venue has undergone a number of facelifts and total reconstructions in the last century.
With a capacity of 27,599, the ground has staged a number of international matches since Germany faced Hungary there in 1922. The most notable were in women's football, with a European championship quarter-final and semi-final in 1990 and 1995 respectively being played in Bochum.
Following a mining and car production boom and post World War II rebuild, Bochum developed into one of Germany's most populous cities. Its history can be traced at one of the many city museums, while culture vultures are well catered for at the Art Museum and Schauspiel (theatre) Bochum.
The city boasts a plethora of parks and walking trails - some of which run parallel to the River Rhine. For more green-fingered travellers, the Ruhr University Botanical Gardens, home to a cactus and Chinese garden, is a must.
The Bermuda-Triangle district is the perfect spot for a pre- or post-match beverage, light lunch, hearty tea or wild night out.
Public transportation is both cheap and reliable, and includes buses, trams and an underground train line.
Bochum doesn't have an airport, but getting there needn't be a headache. Downtown is roughly a 34-minute train ride from Dortmund airport, and only 50 minutes from Düsseldorf. Cologne-Bonn is reachable in under two hours, while the border town of Weeze and Dutch city of Eindhoven offer alternative access points.
Getting to the Ruhrstadion
From the Bochum Hauptbahnhof - reachable by S1 train - jump on the U-Bahn 308 or 318 for three minutes, before arriving at Vonovia Ruhrstadion.
Drivers want to be on the the A43 Münster-Wuppertal motorway. Exit at Bochumer Kreuz, head along the A40 towards Essen and follow the signs to the stadium.
Tickets can still be bought via the official club website HERE.
Watch on TV
If you can’t make it to the stadium, Bundesliga matches are broadcast around the world. ESPN provides coverage in the United States, while BT Sports are the exclusive broadcaster in the United Kingdom. In Germany, Sky Sports show the majority of matches, with DAZN hosting one match per week.
Buying the kit
You can get your own Bochum jersey from the official club shop.
Who is Ko Itakura?
We have the lowdown on Gladbach's Japanese defender signed from Manchester City.
Official Bundesliga transfer centre: Summer 2022
All the official ins and outs at your favourite Bundesliga club...
Itakura joins Gladbach
After a successful loan spell at Schalke, Ko Itakura has decided to join coach Daniel Farke at Borussia Mönchengladbach.