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Last-placed Bochum beat Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin 2-1

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Berlin’s Rani Khedira, left, and Bochum’s Philipp Hofmann, right, challenge for the ball during the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfL Bochum and 1. FC Union Berlin in Bochum, Germany, Sunday October 23, 2022. (David Inderlied/dpa via PA)

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Struggling Bochum beat Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin 2-1 on Sunday to move up from the bottom of the table and end the visitors’ five-game winning streak in all competitions.

Philipp Hofmann and Gerrit Holtmann scored, and Bochum goalkeeper Manuel Riemann also saved a penalty, as the home side secured only their second victory of the season to edge local rivals Schalke by one point ahead of their match later against Union city rivals Hertha Berlin.

Union’s second league defeat this season is good news for 10-time defending champions Bayern Munich, who narrowed the gap to just one point with a 2-0 victory at Hoffenheim on Saturday.

It looks like Union’s hectic game schedule finally took its toll on the players, who failed to match the intensity of the home team.

“I have to say that Bochum ate us a bit today. We had few answers,” said Union coach Urs Fischer. “We weren’t strong enough in the last 30 meters and gave some giveaways. The team tried everything.”

US striker Jordan Pefok has returned after missing Union’s midweek German Cup win over Heidenheim with a bad kick to the leg in the league win over Borussia Dortmund last weekend .

Bochum defender Ivan Ordets was lucky to only receive a yellow card for a kicking slot from Janik Haberer. The Ukrainian defender apologized to Haberer, who had to leave soon after.

Former Bochum midfielder Miloš Pantović replaced Haberer and was greeted with whistles from home fans. The Serbian player played 100 games for Bochum between 2018-22.

The game continued with difficult challenges arriving from both sides, each effectively nullifying the other.

Bochum grew stronger towards the end of the first half as the Union defense looked uncharacteristically in bad shape. Union goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow made a brilliant save to deny Jordi Osei-Tutu, but Hofmann scored from the resulting corner in the 44th minute.

Union had more possession in the second half, but the home side went close when Osei-Tutu’s shot grazed the crossbar.

Union captain Christopher Trimmel made way for more attacking Tim Skarke in the 71st and Holtmann netted Bochum’s second almost immediately afterwards.

Union’s afternoon came to a head when Riemann saved former team-mate Pantović’s penalty in the 78th minute.

Pantović, making his first return since his summer switch, scored in injury time, but it proved too late for Union.

“We always said internally that we weren’t going to face the bottom team, but against Bochum,” Trimmel said. “They’ve performed very well in the last few weeks. They also have a great mentality, it shows today. When those things come together, sometimes you can lose against a team like that.

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This story was originally published October 23, 2022 11:40 a.m.