First penalty, second away win: VfL Bochum, up until now bottom, celebrated a redeeming victory in the Bundesliga and may have dragged 1. FC Köln into the relegation battle. After four games without a point or goal, Bochum won 2-0 (1-0) at FC on Friday evening and temporarily jumped to 14th place. Kevin Stöger (9th minute / penalty kick) and Erhan Masovic (76th) scored For the guests. Cologne are now only five points away. FC have not scored in six of seven games in the second half of the season and have been waiting for a striker goal for almost 800 minutes.

With eleven defeats from twelve games, Bochum traveled to Cologne as the weakest away team in the league – but they still got the first trick early on. Stöger scored Bochum’s first goal after 375 minutes with a penalty kick. It was the first penalty ever for the Westphalians this season after they had already conceded twelve. For Bochum’s coach Thomas Letsch, who has now played once against all his opponents, the motto still applies: all or nothing. VfL has never played a draw under him. Ten defeats now face seven wins.

In unpleasant weather – one degree, sleet and wind – the people of Bochum had been on the autobahn much longer than planned. It was only about five minutes after the Cologne team that they came out on the field, quite rushed, to warm up. The game could start on time. And after 31 seconds, the visitors almost went behind, but goalkeeper Manuel Riemann saved a 20-metre shot from Ellyes Skhiri well.

And instead of falling behind quickly, VfL took the lead early on. Cologne’s defense chief had fouled Bochum’s winger Christopher Antwi-Adjei. The foul was undisputed, the Cologne team only complained that it was outside the penalty area. But the contact took place on the line and Stöger happily converted under the belly of FC goalkeeper Marvin Schwäbe. Cologne looked shocked and were lucky when Takuma Asano, Japan’s World Cup winning goal scorer against Germany, twisted from a tight angle (12′) and failed at Schwäbe (31′). Jeff Chabot then had the equalizer on his feet at the other end, but Riemann made a strong save again and prevented the defender from scoring his first Bundesliga goal.

The sleet had meanwhile turned to snow, thick flakes fell on the lawn from the 30th minute, next to the FC trainer Steffen Baumgart pacing up and down in his t-shirt again, even in these temperatures.

His team became more and more powerful, but remained too harmless in front of goal, as so often recently. Another important move by Letsch was the move to appoint Captain Anthony Losilla as special guard for Skhiri on his 37th birthday. Far fewer impulses than usual came from the Tunisian, the six from the Cologne playmaker. VfL also defended in a disciplined manner.

Masovic finally made the decision, who, after a low free-kick variant, happily got the ball in the penalty area and scored to make it 2-0. The Cologne team then tried to catch up, but Riemann thwarted the few chances. Even three minutes of stoppage time didn’t help the hosts in the end.

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