Bochum 4 Paderborn 0 (11th December 2015)
As much as I enjoyed by first visit to Bochum, a couple of years ago, I wasn’t planning a return so soon. However, something of a gamble on a German weekend before the fixtures had been confirmed dealt me a Friday evening choice of Bochum or Mainz, where I’d also been, and Bochum won hands down.
Not that Mainz is a bad new build, but Bochum’s Rewirpowerstadion is one of those grounds that just works, and even more so at night. Apart from anything else, I guess the anorakish-groundhopper in me can’t resist the nostalgia of a corner floodlight pylon or four, especially where they pierce the night sky, shining towards the pitch below.
Go on the terraces with a beer, with the smells of cigarette smoke and hamburger onions wafting about, and it’s like going back to the 80s, without all the bad bits such as overzealous policing or fearing you might hear a single by Bros over the PA system.
One aspect very similar to 80s English football, that’s often glossed over, was the crowd. At 11479 it meant the stadium was only a third full, and the lowest crowd of the season. Unlike a one-third full stadium in England these days, however, there was still a good atmosphere.
The early-match enthusiasm hadn’t even started to quieten before Bochum were 2-0 up, thanks to a calamitous start from a Paderborn side looking like they may go down for the 2nd year running. First they lost possession on the left wing after 8 minutes, when a Paderborn tripped over his own feet while trying to clear the ball. From there the was no challenge before the ball was crossed into the six yard box, where it was tucked away easily by a forward benefiting from a defence that was giving its Christmas gifts two weeks early – not a marker in sight.
Just two minutes later a through ball found the same attacker rather easily, and he slipped the ball past the keeper the double the lead.
After half an hour, the Paderborn fans who’d forsaken a Friday night out were doubting the wisdom of their choice, as a weak attempted clearance just sat nicely in the area for it to be tucked away for 3-0.
A small child, I’d guess a mascot, was asked for a score prediction before the game. “Fünf null” – five nil – was the reply to a mix of cheers and laughter, but the kid wasn’t far wrong. In the end it was only the fact that Paderborn couldn’t be quite so bad in the second half, and a missed penalty and shot off the post, stopped it being so.
Paderborn did even have a effort or two of their own, but combined with the rest of the general incompetence, their strikers took shots like they had feet made of cardboard, allowing their embarrassment to be collective.
The 4th didn’t actually come until injury time. More “aren’t you supposed to be marking him?” communication between the Paderborn centre-backs allowed a ball from the left to be chipped in to another unmarked attacker six yards out, who nodded the ball into the corner, unchallenged, with ease.
The referee didn’t even bother restarting the match, and it was left to the home players and fans to show mutual appreciation under the glow of the illuminated falling rain. A proper football night, like how they used to be.