VfL Bochum sack Ismail Atalan and suspend Felix Bastians

The 37-year-old leaves the Ruhrstadion after just three months in charge, after just three wins in nine league matches.

VfL Bochum sack Ismail Atalan and suspend Felix Bastians
Photo: TF-Images via Getty Images.

2. Bundesliga club VfL Bochum have parted company with coach Ismail Atalan after just three months and ten games in charge.

The decision comes after a review of an inconsistent start to the season, with his last game in charge being the 3-0 capitulation to Holstein Kiel last weekend.

After a tumultuous few days at the club, they have also suspended captain Felix Bastians. Jens Rasiejewski and Heiko Butscher have been put in temporary charge.

Indifferent start not enough for Bochum

Atalan, lauded for his work with 3. Liga side Sportfreunde Lotte, was brought in by the club in July following the decision to axe former coach Gertjan Verbeek less than three weeks before the start of the campaign.

Having missed out on the early part of pre-season, he naturally struggled to mould his new side. They won just three of the nine 2. Bundesliga matches he took charge of (plus a win in the DFB-Pokal against fifth-tier FC Nöttingen), with the team struggling both offensively and defensively at varying times. The latter was just about summed up by goalkeeper Manuel Riemann’s horrendous mistake to concede the opening goal against Kiel.

Speaking in the statement announcing Atalan’s departure, Sporting CEO Christian Hochstätter said that “after thorough analysis of the current sporting situation,” the club had decided “that an immediate termination of [Atalan’s contract] is the most sensible decision for both parties.”

Bastians failing to act as role model

Bochum have also, surprisingly, decided to hand Bastians a suspension for an unspecified amount of time. Hochstätter admitted it would be an “unpopular decision” but said that this was because Bastians had failed to act as “a role model” in his position as captain. He added the 29-year-old would “now have time to think about the club.”

Both decisions come just two days after the club voted to change the structure of the club in order to pursue additional investment into the first team. Despite almost 80% of the club's members voting in favour, the outcome has angered many of the supporters, who fear that outside influence could threaten the identity of the club.

Quotes via VfL Bochum.

Germany - Bundesliga