Davie Selke and 1. FC Köln lose against VfL Bochum in Bundesliga

Davie Selke and 1. FC Köln lose against VfL Bochum in Bundesliga

Davie Selke was almost symbolic for 1. FC Köln. A thick plaster over the swollen eye he stood after the 2-0 home defeat against VfL Bochum, bottom of the table in front of the journalists and didn’t quite know what to say. Selke had worn himself out, worked, fought. But once again very unfortunate acts. Zero goals, zero assists, but four injuries are now in the FC balance sheet for Hertha BSC’s winter addition.

“I’m a Christian, so I don’t say ‘bewitched’,” he replied when asked if everything seemed ‘bewitched’: “But I’m slowed down by all sorts of things, it’s really crazy. Illness, knees, ankles, now a cut – but I think I’ve got it all covered now.”

FC have not scored in six of their last seven games. On the previous tail light Bochum the Cologne team now only have a five-point lead. So does the relegation battle really start again ten games before the end of the season? “We would do well not to let too many doubts arise,” warned defender Timo Hübers, who caused the early 0:1 by Kevin Stöger (9th minute) with a foul on the penalty line. “That was super unfortunate,” said Hübers, but also admitted: “I have to be smarter.”

“Somehow something is always missing”

This also applies to the entire team. “If you don’t score, it will be difficult in the long run, that’s for sure,” said the coach Stephen Baumgart. But he was “far from blaming the boys. Because they invested a lot. Nevertheless, somehow something is always missing. In the end it’s not enough, and this isn’t the first time.”

That sounds threatening. With the game at championship contenders Borussia Dortmund and the derby against Borussia Mönchengladbach stand for Cologne now pioneering games. But the confidence is still there. “We’re also going to Dortmund with the aim of wanting to win there,” said Baumgart.

Meanwhile, his colleague Thomas Letsch was puzzled. First Danilo Soares signed off at the break with stomach pains, 20 minutes before the end Konstantinos Stafylidis had to leave the field with similar complaints. “I have no idea what went wrong with the food,” said Bochum’s soccer coach Letsch and announced after the game in Cologne with relief: “Both look a little better. I hope they just ate something wrong.”

Goalkeeper Manuel Riemann, on the other hand, had wet eyes. At the end of a grueling week, the teammates ran up to him and hugged him tightly. After seven and a half years, the emotional and polarizing goalkeeper almost lost his status as VfL Bochum’s number one. In the end he was the hero in the 2-0 win, the second away win of the season. With this success, Bochum improved from last to 14th place in 90 minutes. And Riemann symbolized the resurrection of VfL.

Happy Bochumers: goalkeeper Manuel Riemann (left) and captain Anthony Losilla

Happy Bochumers: goalkeeper Manuel Riemann (left) and captain Anthony Losilla

Image: dpa

“I take my hat off to Manuel,” said Letsch: “Of course there is pressure when you are questioned and there are many issues relating to you personally. Then delivering such a performance deserves absolute respect. And says everything about him as a goalkeeper and as a person.” Up until the day before the game, it seemed clear that Riemann would be the prominent victim of the recent negative series. But then substitute keeper Michael Esser, who would have replaced Riemann in goal, signed off with gastrointestinal problems. When asked whether Riemann would have played if Esser had been fit, Letsch answered evasively. “That’s idle,” he said: “Manuel played. And Manuel played well.”

So the number one has re-established its status. But at least as important was the return of Anthony Losilla on Friday. “We always knew he was important to us. But when he was absent, we realized how important he is,” said Letsch about his captain, who recently had to sit out two red cards. On his 37th birthday, Losilla confirmed his coach’s assessment that he was “as fit as a 25-year-old”.

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