1. FC Nürnberg leapfrogged Fortuna Düsseldorf into second place in the 2. Bundesliga after winning 2-0 at the Esprit-Arena.
The hosts had dominated the first half but failed to take the chances. The tables completely turned after half-time, with Tobias Werner and Georg Margreitter ensuring that Der Club didn’t make the same mistake.
Michael Köllner’s side sit just a point behind leaders Holstein Kiel, who despite their draw on Friday become the league’s Herbstmeister.
Raman comes closest as Düsseldorf fail to make dominance count
For Düsseldorf this was the chance the reach the halfway point of the season as leaders of the 2. Bundesliga, having trailed Kiel for the past few weeks. Third-placed Nürnberg though could move above them into second if they themselves won. They were unchanged from last weekend’s win against SV Sandhausen whilst the hosts made two changes from their 2-2 draw in Kiel – Florian Neuhaus and Lukas Schmitz returned for Julian Schauerte and Robin Bormuth.
The former leaders were without a win in five games, having won nine games out of ten beforehand, but after the first few minutes here they began to show signs of returning to form. Kaan Ayhan couldn’t do anything with a corner but the ball was played by in by Benito Raman before Niko Gießelmann headed over the first chance of the game.
A few minutes later and Schmitz attempted to score on the volley, but what would have been an impressive goal instead was off target. Marcel Sobottka also struck wide before the best chance of all fell to Raman. A clever interchange with Rouwen Hennings saw him one-on-one with Fabian Bredlow. The Nürnberg goalkeeper, who has replaced the seemingly-banished Thorsten Kirschbaum, stayed big to keep out the Belgian’s shot.
Nürnberg, on the other hand, were offering very little, with an ambitious attempt from Kevin Möhwald going tamely wide. Perhaps their frustration at their performance was reflected in the number of fouls they were conceding, with four players for Der Club in the referee’s book before the end of the first half.
Tobias Werner leads Nürnberg turnaround
They did start the second half a lot brighter though, with players who had barely been involved in the first half coming into the game. Their efforts didn’t come off completely at first, as Werner failed make the most of a good cross from Enrico Valentini and Edgar Salli went over from distance.
Werner was increasingly influential on the game. After a Düsseldorf move broke down, he led Nürnberg’s counter but rather than setting up Salli for a shot he went himself, only to be denied by Raphael Wolf. Only then, on the rebound, did he supply his teammate but Salli struck over. A cross from Werner also led to a good chance, with Hanno Behrens striking it onto the far post.
The scorer of the first goal was unsurprising. Back-to-back corners from Nürnberg came to little but the ball was then lobbed back into the box. Margreitter headed the ball down for Werner to fire home.
Düsseldorf went looking for a response, with a Neuhaus header going over. Werner also went close again, with his angled shot saved by Wolf. However from a Valentini free-kick, they did double the advantage. Taken from the left, it fond Margreiter in the box. The defender put enough space between him and Hennings and headed in powerfully.
Nürnberg survive late referee errors to move into top two
Hennings responded at the other end, but his shot was saved by Bredlow, who should soon make an even more important save. Nürnberg were truly incensed when René Rohde gave the hosts a penalty for what he saw as a Valentini foul on Raman, although the defender had got the ball before his leg brought down Raman.
After a good couple of minutes of protests, substitute Emir Kujovic took the spot kick but Bredlow proved to be the hero and kept it out – justice done in Nürnberg eyes.
Rohde made another bad call soon after, with Eduard Löwen penalised for a handball when it had in fact hit his chest. The resulting free-kick was in a promising position for Düsseldorf but Hennings could only hit the wall, and that would prove to be the last chance for his side.
Having taken their chances in the second half, just as Düsseldorf hadn’t in the first, the three points take Nürnberg up to second in the table. It also means that Kiel are the 2. Bundesliga Herbstmeister, which sets up the Storks for an unlikely push for a Bundesliga place in the next 17 matches. The form of Friedhelm Funkel’s side is becoming increasingly concerning, however.