Jimmy Abdou's big day here at The Den brings the first ever visit of German second division outfit VfL Bochum. Here we have some information on today's opposition...
One of the oldest sports clubs in the world, VfL Bochum were founded 170 years ago as Turnverein zu Bochum, making their debut in the newly-formed Bundesliga in 1971. Based at the 29,000-capacity Vonovia Ruhrstadion in western Germany, Bochum currently compete in the 2. Bundesliga – in which they finished 6th last season.
Bochum have played in Germany’s second division since their relegation from the top flight in 2010. The club have taken the title of the division three times, have twice qualified for European football through finishing in their highest ever position of fifth in the Bundesliga, and have also reached the DFB Pokal (German Cup) final on two occasions.
Ones to Watch
Goalkeeper Manuel Riemann arrived in the summer of 2015 from Sandhausen and has become the team’s first choice between the sticks. The 29-year-old has worked his way up, having started his career with SV Wacker Burghausen’s reserve team. Having established himself in the first team, Riemann moved on to VfL Osnabruck, before earning his move to Bochum and attracting interest from clubs around the world.
Experienced full-back Tim Hoogland has been back in his homeland for three years, joining VfL alongside Riemann following the expiry of his deal in the Championship with Fulham. Starting out at local clubs in western Germany near to Bochum, Hoogland earned a move to Bundesliga giants Schalke where he progressed through the ranks, before leaving for Mainz and returning for a second spell. Arriving at Craven Cottage in 2014, the right-sided defender scored on his debut and made 28 appearances in his solitary season.
Thomas Eisfeld is another player who is now into his fourth season with the German outfit, and is another of the Bochum squad who has spent time in London. The attacking midfielder was born in Germany and came through the acclaimed youth system at Borussia Dortmund, though never featuring for the first team. Eisfeld joined Arsenal in 2012 and made two senior appearances – scoring once in the League Cup – before moving across the capital to Fulham, where he struggled for game time, prompting a loan spell at Bochum and subsequently a permanent deal. The midfielder is creative and dangerous going forward, ideal in behind the strikers. He has also been capped by his nation’s U20 side.
Sidney Sam has always been a potential handful to any opposition. His thunderous pace and dynamic forward runs make him a real livewire on his day, and can operate out wide and through the middle. Sam arrived at VfL at the end of last summer’s transfer window, and turned 30 last season – but seems to have been around for a lot longer and is a familiar name to many football fans worldwide. Sam made his senior debut in 2006 for Hamburg’s second-string, before his promotion to the first team. A successful four years at Bayer Leverkusen helped the forward make his name and earn his five senior German caps, before a move to Schalke in 2014.
In the Dugout
Robin Dutt has been Bochum’s first-team head coach for five months, joining midway through last season after the departure of Jens Rasiejewski. Dutt took his first coaching role whilst still a player at TSG Leonberg in 1995, and has since managed the likes of SC Freiburg – spending four years at the club – along with Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen. The former forward only played at amateur level in his homeland during his days on the pitch, making the achievement arguably more impressive to manage at a high level. Dutt is now 53 and will be aiming to guide Bochum to a return to the Bundesliga this season.
Be sure to pick up today’s matchday programme for more lowdown on our visitors for Jimmy Abdou’s Testimonial match.