VfL Bochum 1848: A Reflection of the Ruhr
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VfL Bochum 1848: A Reflection of the Ruhr

Get to know German top-flight side VfL Bochum ahead of our pre-season meeting on July 21

VfL Bochum 1848: A Reflection of the Ruhr
VfL Bochum 1848: A Reflection of the Ruhr
Jun 28, 2022

On Thursday July 21, Athletic Club will face Bundesliga side VfL Bochum 1848 at the Heidewaldstadion in the city of Gütersloh. It will be the first time the Lions have played the German side.

Fresh off the back of a first campaign in the German top-flight after a prolonged absence, Bochum will be tough pre-season opponents as they prepare to consolidate their place in the first division.

Bochum were once a stalwart of the top league, and with a couple of Uefa Cup qualifications under their belt, they are a well recognised side in German football. In fact, they received their nickname, Die Unabsteigbaren (The Unrelegatables), during the 80s – a period in which they continually defied the odds by remaining in the Bundesliga.

Although they have had several up and downs since, Bochum fans have retained that fighting spirit, something which the club says is “a reflection of the Ruhr Valley”, the famous mining region to which the city of Bochum belongs.

We’ve put together a list of facts to help you learn more about VfL Bochum.

  • VfL Bochum 1848 was originally founded as a gymnastics club in 1849, the 1848 part of the club’s name relates to a newspaper article calling for the foundation of such a club, which was published on July 26, 1848. The entity’s first official football match was played in August 1911.
  • Throughout its history, the club was subject to several mergers and splits. The definitive independent football club known as VfL Bochum 1848 was formed in 1949.
  • The city of Bochum lies at the heart of the coal mining region known as the Ruhr Valley, one of Germany’s industrial hotspots. As a club, VfL Bochum take great pride in their identification with the Ruhr, a mission statement on their website saying: “The history of VfL Bochum 1848 is a reflection of the history of the Ruhr area: often underestimated, pushed around by the big guys and shaped by adversity, setbacks and defeats – but still there! Yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
  • Bochum finished 13th in their first season back in the Bundesliga, their top goalscorer was Sebastian Polter (who has signed for Schalke 04) with 10 goals in 33 matches.
  • Current head coach Thomas Reis has been in charge since September 2019. A former footballer, he also had an eight-year playing spell at the club from 1995/96 until 2002/03.
  • Bochum have played their home games at the Ruhrstadion (currently named Vonovia Ruhrstadion due to sponsorship reasons) since 1911. The stadium has undergone several rebuilds since its inauguration and in its present form it holds close to 28,000 spectators.
  • Bochum’s first ever season in the Bundesliga was 1971/72. They went on to spend 20 consecutive seasons in the top-flight before suffering relegation in 1992/93.
  • From 1993/94 onwards, Bochum became a yo-yo team. However, in 1996/97 and 2002/03 they did manage to qualify for the UEFA Cup with a couple of fifth-place Bundesliga finishes.
  • They spent over 10 seasons in the second tier from 2010/11 until returning to the top-flight as 2. Bundesliga champions in 2020/21.
  • Bochum have already been busy in the 2022 summer transfer market, bringing in Jordi Osei-Tutu (Arsenal), Kevin Stoger (FSV Mainz 05), Jacek Goralski (Kairat Almaty), Saidy Janko (on loan from Real Valladolid) and Phillip Hofmann (Karlsruher SC).
  • The first-team squad has quite an international make-up, containing players from a wide range of countries, including: Danilo Soares (Brazil), Cristian Gamboa (Costa Rica), Christopher Antwi-Adjei (Ghana) and Takuma Asano (Japan), among others.
  • Bochum’s main rivalries are against other sides in the Ruhr valley, such as Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04 and MSV Duisburg. The main derby match in the region between Dortmund and Schalke is referred to as the Revierderby, but fixtures between any other side in the area are called kleines Revierderby (minor Reiverderbies).

Discover more about Athletic’s 2022/23 pre-season opponents 👇

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