1-0, Burgstaller 45’. 1-1, Soriano 54’. 1-2, Pisot 56‘ (P). 2-2, Hovland 89'.
1. FC Nürnburg 2-2 Würzburger Kickers: Hovland saves a point for Der Club
Photo: Bundesliga

1. FC Nürnburg 2-2 Würzburger Kickers: Hovland saves a point for Der Club

The hosts had looked on the brink of a first defeat in seven games before the defender headed in a 89th minute equaliser.

James Rees

Even Hovland headed in a late equaliser for 1. FC Nürnburg as they earned a point in the derby against Würzburger Kickers.

The 2. Bundesliga’s top scorer Guido Burgstaller struck to give the hosts the lead at the end of a drab first half, however early in the second half Elia Soriano equalised before just two minutes later David Pisot converted a contentious penalty to put Würzburg ahead.

They had looked set to take all three points but Hovland, who had given away the spot kick, headed in a Kevin Möhwald free-kick to force them to settle for just one.

A Franconian derby

This was the first competitive meeting between the sides since Würzburg’s only previous 2. Bundesliga campaign back in the 1977-78 season.

Nürnberg came into the game having won five of their last six matches, including a 2-1 win at Erzgebirge Aue two weeks ago, a result that had left them ninth in the table as they continue their recovery form an awful start to the campaign.

Würzburg were up in sixth, two points ahead of their Franconian rivals. They returned to form after back-to-back defeats with 1-0 defeat against bottom club FC St. Pauli eleven days previously.

Both sides made one change each from their last games, with Hanno Behrens back for Nürnburg in place of Jakub Sylvestr, and Anastasios Lagos dropping out of the Würzburg line-up to make way for Emanuel Taffertshofer.

Burgstaller strike the one key moment

The game failed to live up to its billing in the first half. Nürnberg were poor, whilst the visitors needed time to get going. Nejmeddin Daghfous had the first two shots, with the first saved by Thorsten Kirschbaum and the second deflecting wide via Miso Brecko.

Nürnberg struggled to offer anything in reply, with a promising cross towards Burgstaller from Tim Leibold cut out by Sebastian Neumann, and Behrens unable to capitalise on a Rico Benatelli mistake.

The game seemed destined to remain goalless at the break, however Burgstaller had other ideas. Receiving the ball with his back to goal, he turned, evaded three defenders on his way into the box and as he slipped to the ground was able to direct the ball in past Robert Wulnikowski.

Würzburg turn the game on its head

The second half would be a vast improvement in the entertainment stakes, and the Würzburg keeper had to make a vital save from Möhwald in the opening minutes to prevent the hosts doubling their advantage.

However soon after, within the space of a couple of minutes, Würzburg turned the game around. Soriano equalised when Pisot’s free-kick was headed down into his path by the substitute Valdet Rama. He turned and shot, although Kirschbaum was beaten by a deflection.

And there was controversy straight from the restart. Rama was brought down by Hovland, who had actually gone to ground outside the box. Rama went down inside, but was the initial contact before he had moved in? The referee decided it wasn’t, and Pisot comfortably converted from the spot.

Hovland redeems himself at the end

That left the hosts chasing the game, but plenty of chances came their way. Burgstaller volleyed over a Tobias Kempe cross, before Kempe himself had a superb chance, just striking over the Würzburg bar.

They kept probing away but it was only in the last few minutes that they really troubled Würzburg again. On the break, Burgstaller struck into the bar after deflecting off Pisot, and then Tobias Kempe had his rebound shot cleared off the line by Neumann.

Peter Kurzweg then gave away a free-kick out a deep after fouling as Möhwald. It proved decisive, as Möhwald whipped it into the box, with Hovland getting his head on the ball to draw his side level and redeem himself for the penalty.

The point moved Würzburg up a place to fifth in the table, but Nürnburg remain ninth, although they are now unbeaten in seven games.