19th matchday: Füllkrug hat-trick gives BVB fourth place: 3-1 over Bochum

Match winner Niclas Füllkrug accepted the congratulations from his coach and teammates as calmly as he had previously taken advantage of the chances to score his third Bundesliga hat-trick.

19th matchday: Füllkrug hat-trick gives BVB fourth place: 3-1 over Bochum

Match winner Niclas Füllkrug accepted the congratulations from his coach and teammates as calmly as he had previously taken advantage of the chances to score his third Bundesliga hat-trick. In Borussia Dortmund's 3-1 (1-1) win over feared opponents VfL Bochum on Sunday, the national striker was the decisive factor in ensuring that BVB improved to a Champions League place with their third win in the third game of the new year .

"It's just really good for us to get these results. We're happy that these results have given us our self-confidence back," said Füllkrug on the DAZN streaming service, referring to the lack of consistency in the first half of the season.

With two converted penalty kicks (7th/90th 1) and, above all, the 2-1 lead in the 72nd minute, Füllkrug prevented a setback for BVB in front of 81,365 spectators in the sold-out Signal Iduna Park. Coach Edin Terzic's team moved into fourth place and past RB Leipzig, which was six points ahead of BVB before the end of the winter break. "We didn't play an outstanding game, we didn't play a perfect game. But we took a step forward again and were able to reward ourselves with a win," said Terzic.

In contrast, the Bochum team had to accept their first defeat of 2024 despite the interim 1-1 score thanks to Nico Schlotterbeck's own goal (45th). Unlike the 1-0 win over third-placed Stuttgart a week earlier, VfL did not manage another coup against a top team.

A promising start seemed to save Borussia from a difficult evening with their strong duels this time. After just seven minutes, a foul penalty gave the team the lead. After a foul by VfL keeper Manuel Riemann on Donyell Malen, Füllkrug converted safely from the spot.

But the people of Bochum were not very impressed. Just two minutes after falling behind, they came close to equalizing when Erhan Masovic narrowly missed the ball just in front of the goal line after Kevin Stöger's corner. This encouraged coach Thomas Letsch's team to launch further attacks, which gave the BVB defense plenty of work to do.

BVB coach Terzic's courage to focus on an offensive tactical approach only paid off to a limited extent. Aided by the absences of the sick veterans Julian Brandt and Marco Reus, young star Youssoufa Moukoko was back in the starting line-up for the first time since February 2023 and stormed alongside Füllkrug. However, this measure did not help to achieve visible dominance. Only a shot from new signing Ian Maatsen (16th) and a free kick from Marcel Sabitzer (36th) showed any danger of scoring.

The Bochum team managed to reward themselves for their commitment before the break - albeit with outside help. A cross from Patrick Osterhage sent BVB defender Schlotterbeck into his own goal, although goalkeeper Alexander Meyer, who was standing behind him, could have intercepted the ball. Meyer represented Gregor Kobel, who was also ill.

Even after the restart, Borussia initially had little to do to unsettle the dense Bochum defense. Despite all the advantages in possession, VfL keeper Riemann had little work to do for a long time. Instead, VfL had the best chance of taking a 2-1 lead when Meyer parried a shot from Christopher Antwi-Adjei (58th) in desperate need.

This action was the start of a livelier final phase with chances on both sides. But the Dortmund team managed the decisive action. After Sabitzer's cross, Füllkrug headed the ball from close range. The cold-snout national player finally scored the final point with the second foul penalty.

NEXT NEWS