Konstantinos Mavropanos picked up an injury as FC Nurnberg faced off against VfL Bochum and fellow Arsenal loanee Jordi Osei-Tutu on Saturday.
As in the last few matches, Osei-Tutu started the match on the right-wing. Bochum’s tactics in the first half mostly involved sitting back and trying to use the loan right-back’s pace on the counter-attack.
Osei-Tutu made a few nice passes and runs in the early stages, but none of them led to much. The Nurnberg keeper was particularly quick off his line to stop one dangerous ball over the top.
On the other side, Mavropanos made a strong start to the game. He won all of his early ground duels as well as making three interceptions and three tackles in the opening half an hour.
As usual, Mavropanos’ long passing was a key feature of his team’s play. The defence regularly used him to play forward throughout the half.
Osei-Tutu had to receive medical treatment just before the half-hour mark, after the follow-through from a clearing kick by a Nurnberg player caught him. Fortunately, it didn’t keep him down for long.
The 21-year-old switched to the left-wing after that, another common recent tactic from Bochum.
It’s not that the Bochum wingers have free roles to roam the final third. They just switch sides for periods of the match. Osei-Tutu barely strayed from the right touchline for the opening 30 minutes, then hardly moved away from the left for the following 15.
It didn’t lead to many more chances in the final minutes of the half though, ending 0-0.
For Mavropanos, the half-time whistle was also the end of his individual appearance. He came off over the break, despite a solid first-half performance.
Unfortunately, his club report that he was having muscular problems. It’s the latest in a long list of injury issues for him.
Meanwhile, Osei-Tutu started the second half back on the right-hand side.
He found himself in space behind the defence in the 63rd minute, attempting a cut-back to a teammate. Though his pass beat the onrushing goalkeeper, the Nurnberg defenders deflected it away to safety.
Osei-Tutu lasted until the 76th minute, at which point he also came off for Tom Weilandt. The scores were still 0-0 and the Arsenal loanee was struggling to impact the game by that point.
It ended as a draw, a rather unsatisfactory conclusion for both teams, given their current situation. Bochum will be the happier of the two sides given their four-point lead over Nurnberg going into the game.