By Ben Sully @SullyBen
Fourth-placed Union Berlin will continue their quest to secure Champions League qualification when they play host to relegation-threatened Bochum on Sunday.
Union will be looking to return to winning ways after suffering consecutive defeats. A 2-0 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB-Pokal quarter-finals was followed by a narrow defeat against Borussia Dortmund last weekend.
Kevin Behrens restored parity after Donyell Malen had given Dortmund the lead, but a 79th-minute strike from Youssoufa Moukoko ensured Union left Signal Iduna Park empty-handed.
Union, who currently occupy fourth position, are still well set to qualify for the Champions League with four points separating them from fifth-placed Freiburg.
If Urs Fischer’s side can secure a victory on Sunday then they will move up to third place and close the gap to league leaders Bayern Munich to five points.
Having won nine and drawn four of their 13 home league games this season, Union are one of two sides that are yet to lose a Bundesliga home in the 2022-23 campaign, ensuring they will head into Sunday’s encounter in a confident mood.
The hosts are unable to call upon the services of Jerome Roussillon and András Schäfer, who are ruled out with injury issues.
Bochum will have to pick themselves up after their three-game unbeaten run was ended by relegation rivals Stuttgart last weekend. Kevin Stöger cancelled out Hiroki Ito’s opener, but Stuttgart retook the lead through Sehrou Guirassy before Josha Vagnoman quickly added a third. Although Philipp Hofmann pulled a goal back in the 85th minute, ite was too little too late for Bochum, who fell to a 3-2 home defeat.
Die Unabsteigbaren will be hoping to bounce back on Sunday as they look to put distance between themselves and the relegation zone. Bochum have seen their gap to the bottom three reduced to just two points after Schalke 04 thrashed Hertha 4-1 and ten-man Stuttgart fought back to draw 3-3 against Dortmund.
Although Bochum have won just two of their 14 away league games this season, they have managed to pick up four points from their last two away trips in the Bundesliga.
The visitors have the chance to complete a league double over Hertha after winning the reverse fixture 2-1 in October.
Konstantinos Stafylidis is a doubt due to illness, while Anthony Losilla is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the Bundesliga season last weekend. Cristian Gamboa, meanwhile, has returned to training and could be included in the matchday squad.