Scott Hogan's first-half goal decides friendly against 2.Bundesliga side
Scott Hogan netted the only goal as Brentford recorded a hard-fought win over VFL Bochum as part of the pre-season Training Camp in Germany. Eighteen members of Dean Smith’s squad featured in the match which saw debuts for Daniel Bentley and Romaine Sawyers and season bows for Lasse Vibe and Nico Yennaris in Dulmen. The hosts, who finished fifth in the German second tier last season, had the better of the early encounters but couldn’t find a way through The Bees backline and were punished late on in the first-half as Hogan converted from close range. After the break the match became more of a midfield battle but Brentford stood firm to pick up their first win this pre-season.
The Bees had to withstand a lot of early pressure as their 2.Bundesliga opponents looked to brighten up a damp and dull evening for the around 1000 locals, and 50 Bees fans, in attendance. Bentley’s first meaningful touch in a Brentford shirt saw him somehow deflect a fierce close-range drive from former Arsenal and Fulham man Thomas Eisfeld onto the bar and away to safety. Peniel Mlapa was the next to threaten The Bees goal, the Togolese striker pulling his effort from 25 yards tamely wide. Mlapa was proving an effective target-man for Bochum, his strength and pace giving wingers Kevin Stoger and Tom Weilandt constant options, with Eisfeld looking for anything loose in the midfield. Weilandt’s surging run deserved better as Mlapa failed to test Bentley from close range before Eisfeld curled a free-kick onto the roof of the net.
Debutant Bentley was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers and he got strong hands to a low Weilandt cross, Mlapa heading behind when the ball was worked back in. Indeed, it took until the midpoint of the half for Manuel Riemann to be called into action, a deep corner found Harlee Dean on the edge of the box, his shot was half-blocked and it bobbled through to the Bochum stopper. As the half wore on it became a more-even contest as Brentford began to see more of the ball. Colin was crowded out as he broke forward from right-back, the loose ball rolled wide of the post from 12 yards by Konstantin Kerschbaumer. Weilandt fired into the arms of Bentley before, with ten minutes of the half to play, The Bees took the lead. Lewis Macleod did well to hold up the ball and find Colin on the byline, his cutback poked home from close range by Hogan.
On the balance of play the home side may have considered themselves unlucky to go behind and they wasted no time in trying to get level. Stoger had a goal disallowed within 60 seconds of Hogan finding the net, the ball going behind before Wielandt cut it back, and Yoann Barbet needed to make a vital block tackle to deny Mlepa as the powerful striker broke in behind. The final chance of the half for the home side saw Eisfeld whip a shot just wide of the post from the edge of the box.
Both sides made changes at the break with The Bees switching to a 5-3-2, John Egan, Andreas Bjelland, Alan McCormack, and Philipp Hofmann coming on, while Bochum changed their entire XI. On the back of five days of intense pre-season training, Dean Smith’s side were lacking their usual crispness in possession but they were working hard off the ball, limiting their opponent’s chances. Hayk Galstyan passed up the best of the early second-half chances, driving a shot into the side netting under pressure from Dean while Hogan’s last action before being taken off on the hour was to bend a shot over the bar from 25 yards.
Sawyers made his Brentford bow with 25 minutes to play replacing goalscorer Hogan while Jan Holldack came on for Ryan Woods. The Bees didn’t fashion too many chances to extend their lead in the second-half but arguably the best they did create saw Yennaris flash a shot wide from the edge of the box from Clarke’s cutback. At the other end Bentley was off his line quickly to deny Nils Quaschner from close range. Substitute Vibe nearly made it a scoring return to action as he picked up Felix Dornebusch’s weak pass out but the Bochum goalkeeper recovered quickly to claim the Danish striker’s floated effort. Bochum went in search of a leveller in the closing minutes but could only muster a pair of long-range efforts from Evangelos Pavlidis and Russell Canouse, neither of which came close to threatening Bentley’s clean sheet on debut as The Bees recorded the win.
Brentford: Daniel Bentley; Maxime Colin (Andreas Bjelland 46 mins), Harlee Dean, Yoann Barbet (sub John Egan 46 mins), Tom Field; Nico Yennaris (sub Lasse Vibe 75 mins), Ryan Woods (sub Jan Holldack 66 mins); Josh Clarke, Lewis Macleod (sub Alan McCormack 46 mins), Konstantin Kerschbaumer (sub Philipp Hofmann 46 mins); Scott Hogan (sub Romaine Sawyers 66 mins)
Subs not used: David Button, Jack Bonham, Andy Gogia, Josh McEachran, Sam Saunders,
VFL Bochum 1st Half: Manuel Riemann, Tim Hoogland, Felix Bastians, Anthony Losilla, Thomas Eisfeld, Peniel Mlapa, Stefano Celozzi, Kevin Stoger, Tom Weilandt, Timo Perthel, Marco Stiepermann
VFL Bochum 2nd Half: Felix Dornebusch, Russell Canouse, Johannes Wurtz, Jan Gyamerah, Gorkem Saglam, Tim Krafft, Maxim Leitsch, Tom Baack, Evangelos Pavlidis, Hayk Galstyan, Nil Quaschner