Bochum moved a significant step closer to securing their Bundesliga status for another year after Takuma Asano struck a goal in each half to help last season's Bundesliga 2 champions to victory at Hoffenheim.
With both sides looking to bounce back quickly from respective defeats prior to the international break, there was a frantic feel to the opening of this Matchday 28 encounter. Danilo Soares struck narrowly over for the visitors while Christoph Baumgartner and Andrej Kramaric kept Bochum goalkeeper Manuel Riemann alert at the the other end. Indeed, it was just such sharpness from the visiting shot stopper that would pave the way for the game's opening goal. Spotting Asano free on the left, Riemann sent a splendid long pass to the feet of the Japan international, who cut inside with a diagonal run before wrong-footing Oliver Baumann via a low drive from distance back across goal. It could, and arguably should, have gotten even better for Thomas Reis's men before the break. Taking advantage of a lapse in possession by the hosts, Milos Pantovic found himself bearing down on goal and with time to pick his spot. To Bochum's dismay, however, that spot was wide of the upright.
Hoffenheim lost the corresponding fixture against Bochum earlier in the season and Sebastian Hoeneß's side emerged after the restart looking determined to avoid a repeat in this game. Angelo Stiller's centre found Kramaric who headed wide when well placed but the Croatian's miss was a mere precursor to him setting up David Raum for the equaliser. Kramaric's cross may not have been initially intended for Raum, but when the ball eventually arrived to the No. 17, he took full advantage with a rising shot that found the top corner. With no other team having battled back more times to win points from losing positions in games this season, the Sinsheimers looked set to enhance their reputation as the division's comeback kings. Yet Bochum weren't ready to play ball on that front and they retook the lead soon afterwards when Riemann - sensing a quick breakaway - sent a long kick-out that found Asano, who slotted under Baumann to put his side back in front. Incredibly, the 27-year-old would have the ball in the net once more soon afterwards, but although he was denied a hat-trick for a foul in the build-up, Bochum ultimately wouldn't be deprived of their moment in the sun.
- This was only the second time Bochum scored more than one goal away from home this season.
- Asano scored his third and fourth Bundesliga goals in what was his 49th German top-flight appearance.
- It was Asano's first Bundesliga double.
- Raum scored his third top-flight goal of the campaign; all have come with his left foot.
- VfL have scored six long range goals this term; only Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig have hit more.
- Bochum had 12 shots on goal in the first 45 minutes, the most they have managed in a first half this season.
Hoffenheim: Baumann (c) – Akpoguma (Richards 46'), Grillitsch, Vogt – Kaderabek (Rutter 46'), Samassekou (Rudy 84'), Stiller (Geiger 71'), Raum - Baumgartner – Bebou (Bruun Larsen 84'), Kramaric
Unused subs: Philipp, Nordtveit, Che, Georginio, Dabbur
Out: Bicakcic (knee), Posch (not included), Skov (thigh), Hübner (match fitness)
Coach: Sebastian Hoeneß
Bochum: Riemann – Gamboa (Bockhorn 88'), Masovic, Leitsch, Soares – Rexhbecaj, Losilla (c), Stafylidis (Osterhage 74') – Pantovic (Holtmann 61'), Polter, Asano (Bonga 88')
Unused subs: Esser, Lampropoulos, Löwen, Tesche, Antwi-Adjei
Out: Bella-Kotchap (suspended), Locadia (hip), Pantovic (not included), Zoller (knee)
Coach: Thomas Reis
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