Bochum will look to Takuma Asano to provide their top-flight safety for another season against relegation-threatened Augsburg and Ricardo Pepi on Sunday (kick-off: 3.30pm CEST).
>> Click here for the Bochum-Augsburg LIVE blog!
Asano has scored three times in 2022, netting a brace in promoted Bochum’s last win at Hoffenheim on Matchday 28. A goalless draw with Bayer Leverkusen followed, but Thomas Reis’ side were largely beaten last time out, losing 3-0 to the top four contenders. Freiburg. Nonetheless, depending on results elsewhere this weekend, Bochum will be mathematically assured of their place in the Bundesliga next season with a positive result at Vonovia Ruhrstadion. They are currently eight points clear of relegation play-off holders VfB Stuttgart, who travel to 15th-placed Hertha Berlin in the final game of Matchday 31, with three rounds of fixtures remaining. Midfielder Elvis Rexhbecaj is expected to be reinstated in the starting lineup, but former Augsburg player Kostas Stafylidis is suspended and Danilo Soares has a doubt. Herbert Bockhorn could come in at left-back.
Bochum may be almost assured of their top-flight status, but Augsburg are in a much more precarious position. After wins over Wolfsburg and Mainz, back-to-back losses to Bayern Munich and Hertha left them just four points above the bottom three. Automatic relegation isn’t out of the question either, with the cushion on penultimate Arminia Bielefeld with six not insurmountable points. Markus Weinzierl’s side have only won twice on the road all season – in Cologne and Bielefeld – while Pepi, who signed in January, is yet to score since joining the club of FC Dallas during the January transfer window. The United States international will probably have to settle for being on the bench once more, with Michael Gregoritsch and Andre Hahn being the preferred pair in attack. The duo have accounted for 11 of Augsburg’s 34 Bundesliga goals so far this season.
Watch: Bochum beat a five-goal thriller with Augsburg earlier this season
- Bochum’s top scorer with eight goals, Sebastian Polter, has committed a league-high 62 fouls after 30 appearances.
- Bochum have scored 25 points at home to 11 away this season.
- Bochum last secured consecutive seasons of Bundesliga football in 2009.
- Gregoritsch scored one of his team-leading seven goals for the campaign in the second leg (3-2 loss).
- Pepi is still scoreless in the Bundesliga on eight shots in his first 10 Bundesliga appearances (442 minutes).
- Augsburg are the third worst away team in 2021/22 (W2, D4, L9).
Bohum: Riemann – Gamboa, Bella-Kotchap, Leitsch, Soares – Löwen, Losilla (c), Rexhbecaj – Asano, Locadia, Holtmann
Outside: Stafylidis (suspended)
Coach: Thomas Reis
Augsburg: Gikiewicz – Gumny, Gouweleeuw (c), Oxford, Iago – Caligiuri, Maier, Dorsch, Vargas – Hahn, Gregoritsch
Outside: Sarenren Bazee (knee), Strobl (knee)
Doubtful: Niederlechner (ill), Uduokhai (thigh)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl