0-1, Sabiri 4'. 1-1, Kleindienst 41'. 1-2, Kammerbauer 68'. 1-3, Sabiri 79'. 2-3, Verhoek 90+2'.
1. FC Heidenheim 2-3 1. FC Nürnberg: Sabiri brace helps FCN to first win after Winter break
Image credit: Bundesliga.de

1. FC Heidenheim 2-3 1. FC Nürnberg: Sabiri brace helps FCN to first win after Winter break

It was entertaining from start to finish at the Voith-Arena.

Jonathan Walsh
1. FC Heidenheim(4-4-2) Müller; Philp, Wittek, Beermann, Feick; Skarke (Halloran 73'), Griesbeck, Gnaase (Thomalla 31'), Schnatterer; Kleindienst, Verhoek.
1. FC Nurnberg(4-2-3-1) Kirschbaum; Kammerbauer, Margreitter, Hovland, Lippert (Djakpa 84'); Behrens, Mühl; Kempe (Hufnagel 75'), Möhwald (Gislason 88'), Sabiri; Matavz.
SCORE0-1, Sabiri 4'. 1-1, Kleindienst 41'. 1-2, Kammerbauer 68'. 1-3, Sabiri 79'. 2-3, Verhoek 90+2'.
REFEREEArne Aarnink (Nordhorn). Booked: Skarke (30'), Kammerbauer (35'), Sabiri (63'), Mühl (76').

Abdelhamid Sabiri's brace and Patrick Kammerbauer's sweet strike helped 1. FC Nürnberg to a hard-fought 3-2 win over 1. FC Heidenheim.

The hosts responded through Tim Kleindienst and John Verhoek, but the visitors made their chances count when it mattered.

Team news

In a bid to bounce back from the surprise 2-1 defeat at Erzgebirge Aue last weekend, Frank Schmidt made five changes to the starting eleven. Tim Skarke, Dave Gnaase, Timo Beermann, Ronny Philp and Kleindienst came in for Ben Halloran, Marcel Titsch-Rivero, Hauke Wahl, Robert Strauß and Denis Thomalla.

Alois Schwartz's side also tasted defeat on return from the Winter break, this time at the hands of Dynamo Dresden. He opted for three alterations as injuries dictated a rotated line-up. Miso Brecko, Laszlo Sepsi and Ondrej Petrak all dropped out for Kammerbauer, Dennis Lippert and Even Hovland.

Kleindienst cancels out Sabiri opener

After last weekend, Schwartz was hoping for a reaction and a quick opening goal was the perfect way to put that loss out of their heads. Unsurprisingly, Kevin Möhwald played the key pass, as his cross picked out Sabiri at the back post. He slightly misjudged the flight but his headed effort was powerful, accurate and found the top corner.

Heidenheim responded almost immediately after Marc Schnatterer was brought down on the edge of the area. He dusted himself down and a well-worked free-kick saw Thorsten Kirschbaum beat away a double-deflected effort from Arne Feick. Deflections and blocks were the order of the day, as both sides had efforts halted by defenders.

The game continued to be as open as it was exciting, with Timo Beermann's last ditch intervention the only saving grace as Sabiri tried to feed Tim Matavz through on goal.  Kirschbaum then made himself big at the near post to keep out Gnaase. Unfortunately for him, it was his last action of the game as injury meant Thomalla was forced on.

Having threatened to get in behind the visiting defence just moments before, Nürnberg didn't manage to track Skarke's run to collect Feick's throw-in. The youngster raced onto the ball and a clever cut-back found Kleindienst coming into the six-yard box. A sweeping finish under Kirschbaum saw him celebrate, and the sides level at the break.

Youngsters turn on the style for FCN

There were no changes after the break but that late goal had given Heidenheim a necessary shot in the arm. The hosts were buzzing and keen to get amongst the Nürnberg players, though felt hard done by when John Verhoek's penalty appeals for an alleged push in the back fell on deaf ears.

Chances followed for Schmidt's side yet converting them was proving to be a problem. Verhoek had an effort blocked by the visiting back-line but not before Feick somehow headed wide at the back post from a looping corner. The Voith-Arena faithful were even more frustrated when Sabiri appeared to handle in the area without punishment.

It was perhaps no shock then, that Nürnberg punished Heidenheim for their profligacy with devastating circumstances. In what was their first real attack of the half, Kammerbauer exchanged a neat one-two with Hanno Behrens before taking aim at the far post and finding the bottom corner in real style to restore their lead.

Heidenheim tried to battle back but any pressure proved to be in vain, with Sabiri grabbing the third. He was able to convert another Möhwald cross - although this time it was more fortunate - as his scuffed effort was met by Sabiri to nod past the helpless Kevin Müller to seal all three points.

There would be one final hurrah as poor defending from Nürnberg saw the ball fall for Verhoek to slam home, but it was too little too late. Heidenheim's second defeat since the Winter break means they now sit seventh, with promotion hopes taking a sizeable dent. Nürnberg moved a point and two places behind their opponents.