Struggling Bochum defeated Bundesliga leader Union Berlin 2-1 on Sunday to move off the bottom of the table and end the visitors’ five-game winning run across all competitions.
Philipp Hofmann and Gerrit Holtmann scored, and Bochum goalkeeper Manuel Riemann also saved a penalty, as the home team claimed just its second win of the season to move one point ahead of local rival Schalke before its game later at Union’s city rival Hertha Berlin.
Union’s second league loss of the season is good news for 10-time defending champion Bayern Munich, which cut the gap to just one point with a 2-0 win at Hoffenheim on Saturday.
It seemed Union’s busy schedule of games finally took its toll on the players, who failed to match the home team’s intensity.
American forward Jordan Pefok returned after missing Union’s mid-week German Cup win over Heidenheim with a bad knock to his leg picked up during the league win over Borussia Dortmund last weekend.
Bochum defender Ivan Ordets was fortunate to be shown just a yellow card for a lunge at Janik Haberer’s foot. The Ukrainian defender apologized to Haberer, who had to go off shortly afterward.
The game continued with tough challenges flying in from both sides, each effectively canceling the other.
Bochum grew stronger toward the end of the first half as Union’s defense looked uncharacteristically out of sorts. Union goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow pulled off a brilliant save to deny Jordi Osei-Tutu, but Hofmann scored from the resultant corner in the 44th.
Union had more possession in the second half, yet the home team came closer to scoring when Osei-Tutu’s shot grazed the crossbar.
Union captain Christopher Trimmel made way for the more offensive-minded Tim Skarke in the 71st and Holtmann scored Bochum’s second almost immediately afterward.
Union’s afternoon was summed up when Manuel Riemann saved former teammate Miloš Pantović’s penalty in the 78th.
Pantović, who was playing his first game back at his former club since his summer switch, did score in injury time but it proved to be too late for Union.