A second-half goal from Milos Pantovic was enough to see battling Bochum gain an all-important victory against a Wolfsburg side without a win since November.
Prior to this Matchday 18 encounter, Bochum coach Thomas Reis said his side wanted to "... become more clinical up front," in the second half of the season. The hosts started with just that intent, Anthony Losilla, Takuma Asano and Elvis Rexhbecaj all threatening in a sustained period of pressure in front of the Wolfsburg goal. The visitors - defeated in their previous seven games in all competitions - responded, with Yannick Gerhardt's long-range shot producing a save from Manuel Riemann. The Bochum 'keeper stopped a penalty in the corresponding fixture - a 1-0 Wolfsburg win back in August - and he cut a relieved figure here when Ridle Baku's drilled effort from distance flew millimetres past the post.
Separated by mere goal difference going into this game, both sides continued to mirror each other in terms of chances as the game progressed. Losilla should have done better than to head straight at Koen Casteels when meeting a cross from the right while, at the other end, Baku volleyed wide following a promising Wolfsburg move. Winning the majority of their points at home this season, Bochum looked on course to add to their tally when they finally made the breakthrough in the 65th minute. With Wolfsburg giving up possession far too easily, the hosts pounced when Gerrit Holtmann's precise centre was headed in by the prowling Pantovic. Florian Kohfeldt urged his men forward thereafter, but there was to be no response for a Wolfsburg side who drop closer to the relegation zone, with Bochum headed in the opposite direction.
- Pantovic scored his third Bundesliga goal, and the first with his head.
- Bochum never lost after taking the lead this season, the hosts gaining six wins and a draw after edging in front.
- Armel Bella Kotchap produced the quickest sprint of the game, the 20-year-old Bochum defender clocking in at 21.5mph.
- Reis's side have lost just twice at their Vonovia-Ruhrstadion home this term, to Hertha and Union Berlin.
- Reis coached the Wolfsburg U19s for three years, prior to taking over at Bochum in September 2019.
- The Wolves have lost their last eight in all competitions, a run not seen since the team's promotion in 1997.
Watch: Milos Pantovic on Bochum's survival chances
Bochum: Riemann – Gamboa, Leitsch, Bella-Kotchap, Soares - Pantovic (Löwen 82'), Losilla (c), Rexhbecaj (Tesche 87') – Asano (Antwi-Adjei 78'), Polter, Holtmann
Unused subs: Esser, Bockhorn, Lampropoulos, Osterhage, Locadia, Ganvoula
Out: Blum (muscular), Decarli (shoulder), Masovic (suspended), Stafylidis (not included), Zoller (knee)
Coach: Thomas Reis
Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) – Lacroix, Bornauw, Brooks – Baku, Arnold, Gerhardt, Roussillon (Bialek 78') – Waldschmidt (Nmecha 61'), Weghorst, Philipp (Steffen 61')
Unused subs: Pervan, Mbabu, van de Ven, Guilavogui
Out: Ginczek (not included), Lukebakio (not included), Mehmedi (muscular), L. Nmecha (ankle), Schlager (knee), Stefaniak (groin), Otavio (knee), Vranckx (not included), William (knee)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Watch: Maximilian Arnold: "We'll do everything in our power"