The Lilies, battling the drop with their trademark resilience, took the lead in the first half through a Terrence Boyd header, to put them on course to escape the bottom two.
However after a poor first 45 minutes Nürnberg came back out fighting, eventually breaking Darmstadt’s resistance through Georg Margreitter.
Boyd gives struggling Lilies hope with early goal
Despite still being second in the table, Nürnberg have hit a rough patch during the absence of top scorer Mikael Ishak, with just one point from their last three games and one win from their last five. They lost to a late goal from Arminia Bielefeld last Friday but were unchanged from that game here. Darmstadt, still in the bottom two, are unbeaten in three though, with the only change from their draw with FC Ingolstadt 04 seeing Romain Brégerie in for Immanuel Höhn.
Although the pitch was clear the game started with snow coming down in the Max-Morlock-Stadion, with the hosts starting strongly with plenty of possession. Their first sight of goal came when a cross from Tim Leibold was put wide by Adam Zrelak, tasked with leading their line in lieu of Ishak.
Against the run of play though, Darmstadt would take the lead. Nürnberg couldn’t clear their first corner of the game, with the ball pinging about in the air before Wilson Kamavuaka headed on towards Boyd, who put the ball past Fabian Bredlow for his first goal in nearly four months.
Der Club amassed numerous corners over the course of the first half but otherwise failed to test Daniel Heuer Fernandes in Darmstadt’s goal. Zrelak did have another chance but again he put it wide after receiving the ball from Hanno Behrens. In what was all told a quiet first half, Boyd would late on have another chance from a Tobias Kempe corner, more directly this time, but he headed off target.
Margreitter comes to Nürnberg’s rescue.
The ineffective Edgar Salli was sacrificed for Federico Palacios Martínez at half-time, and Nürnberg attacked with much more penetration once the game resumed. Leibold and Ewerton both put the ball over, before they couldn’t quite scramble in a corner. The best chance though saw Palacios Martínez play the ball through to Kevin Möhwald on the run into the box, but Heuer Fernandes did well to keep the shot out.
As the hosts kept up the pressure, Darmstadt had a couple of chances themselves to extend their lead as they looked to hold on to just a seventh win of the season. A good ball from Joevin Jones set up Dong-Won Ji but he put his effort wide, before Jones himself had a shot straight at Bredlow.
At the other end they were having to defend with their lives to keep Nürnberg at bay. An Enrico Valentini free-kick caused no ends of problems before Patrick Erras smashed it into the woodwork, whilst two defenders made brave blocks to deny back-to-back efforts from Behrens. They were breached in the end though, with a high Valentini corner headed in by Margreitter past all of the other player in the box.
From here, both sides seemed almost content to settle for the point, with Möhwald and Ji missing efforts at either end in the latter stages. They both stay where they are in the table, with Nürnberg now battling to stay in the top two and Darmstadt still in deep trouble at the bottom, despite their unbeaten run.
Sunday's other 2. Bundesliga results
Eintracht Braunschweig 3-2 MSV Duisburg (1-0, Nyman 18'; 2-0, Tingager 20'; 3-0, Abdullahi 40'; 3-1, Wolze 69'; 3-2, Valsvik 83' (OG))
FC Ingolstadt 04 4-2 Dynamo Dresden (1-0, Pledl 16'; 2-0, Schröck 28'; 2-1, Koné 58' (P); 2-2, Ballas 79'; 3-2, Kittel 90+1'; 4-2, Cohen 90+4')