Japan’s Takuma Asano and Masaya Okugawa are set to face off when Bochum host second-placed Arminia Bielefeld on Friday (kick-off 8.30pm CEST).
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Asano played his part in a quite remarkable Ruhr derby at Borussia Dortmund last time out. The 34-time Japan international produced two assists as Bochum went down 4-3 winners in an upside game that secured their place in the Bundesliga next season. Twelfth in the table heading into the penultimate round of fixtures, Bochum could yet finish their first Bundesliga football campaign for 11 years in the top half. With defender Kostas Stafylidis suspended and Danilo Soares uncertain, Thomas Reis will likely name an unchanged starting line-up for his side’s final home game of 2021/22.
Bielefeld’s hopes of a third consecutive Bundesliga season hang in the balance. Given their inferior goal difference, Arminia genuinely need at least three points from their two remaining matches to have any chance of swapping places with VfB Stuttgart at the relegation play-off post. It means ending a winless streak dating back to Matchday 23, when Okugawa last scored. Arminia at least showed that they fought hard to come from behind and draw with Hertha Berlin in their second game under interim coach Marco Kostmann. Teenage striker Burak Ince and veteran midfielder Gonzalo Castro are hoping to keep their places but could make room for the returns of Alessandro Schöpf and Janni Serra.
Watch: Bochum’s seven-goal thriller at Dortmund
- Asano tripled his provision number for the 2021/22 league last time out by making two assists in the same Bundesliga game for the first time.
- Sebastian Polter is Bochum’s top scorer with nine Bundesliga goals this season.
- Reis’ side have collected 25 of their 39 points at home this season and have conceded half as many (16) as they have on the road (32).
- Okugawa is Bielefeld’s top scorer with eight goals this season and he is one goal shy of his career-best comeback of nine in a single campaign.
- Bielefeld has the division’s worst record in 2022, having picked up 11 points in 15 rounds (W2, D5, L8).
- Arminia have lost their last six away league matches, scoring just once in that span.
Bohum: Riemann – Gamboa, Masovic, Leitsch, Bockhorn – Pantovic, Losilla (c), Rexhbecaj – Asano, Polter, Holtmann
Outside: Stafylidis (suspended)
Doubtful: Soares (knee)
Coach: Thomas Reis
Bielefeld: Ortega – Ramos, Pieper, Nilsson, Laursen – Kunze, Prietl (c) – Wimmer, Schöpf, Okugawa – Serra
Outside: Klos (fractured skull), Lasma (knee)
Doubtful: Brunner (concussion)
Coach: Marco Kostmann