1. FC Nürnberg are just one win away from ending their four-year stay in the 2. Bundesliga after beating a meek Eintracht Braunschweig.
The visitors had survived a bombardment before Ondrej Petrák finally put Nürnberg ahead soon before half-time, and it was the least they deserved.
They doubled their lead straight after the break through Kevin Möhwald, and now just need to beat SV Sandhausen next weekend to return to the Bundesliga. The Lions though remain in lethal danger of finishing in the bottom three.
Petrák breaks Braunschweig’s one-man resistance
Fortuna Düsseldorf secured their promotion to the top flight on Saturday and after their victory last week against Holstein Kiel last week, Nürnberg were on course to join them. Their line-up here saw three changes, with Fabian Bredlow, Tim Leibold and Petrák all back for Thorsten Kirschbaum, Laszlo Sepsi and Patrick Erras. After a third consecutive draw for Braunschweig, who came into the game just a point above the bottom three, they made two changes. Patrick Schönfeld and Domi Kumbela replaced Suleiman Abdullahi and Georg Teigl.
With so much at stake, both sides started restlessly but it was the hosts that got into their groove a lot sooner. Robin Becker gave them their first chance when he inadvertently headed an attempted clearance to Mikael Ishak, but he struck wide on the post. Hanno Behrens had been a big threat in the air against Kiel and he was again here, although Jasmin Fejzic saved the one header on target.
Braunschweig were a mess at the back and increasingly Der Club tried to test that. Fejzic kept them at bay though. After keeping out a Möhwald shot, he parried an Eduard Löwen effort and did well to react to Tobias Werner’s attempt on the rebound. As for Braunschweig, the best they could summon up in terms of chances was Gustav Valsvik heading wide a Jan Hochscheidt corner. Otherwise, they looked all at sea.
Nürnberg finally got their noses in front right before half-time. Werner got his to a ball lifted into the box and Fejzic scrambled it wide from a corner. That was headed clear but only to Petrák. He curled his shot into the box, managing to find a gap through the crowded box to score. Braunschweig were incensed as they though that Behrens had been blocking the view of Fejzic whilst offside, but he had been in fact onside when Petrák struck the ball.
Möhwald kills the game off quickly after the break
Torsten Lieberknecht had to change something, and he brought on Teigl for Özkan Yildirim, himself an early replacement for the injured Schönfeld. It made no difference, as they were soon 2-0 down. Petrák found Möhwald, whose ran into the box could have halted by as many as four yellow-shirted players, yet even as the ball deflected off one he was still able to retain it and score.
Not long after, Werner had the chance to make it three but fired wide, and for the most part his side remained well in control. Braunschweig were though able to finally give home goalkeeper Bredlow something to do just before the hour mark when Teigl managed to get a shot on target.
Nürnberg began to play within themselves and Braunschweig remained a limp force, all making for a less eventful final half-an-hour. Fejzic did have to deal with a Behrens shot, whilst Möhwald’s attempt from distance didn’t threaten the scorers. In the end, Braunschweig went down with a whimper and Nürnberg had complete control of their situation.
The three points puts them five clear of Kiel, and they will seal promotion with victory at Sandhausen on Sunday, whilst even that wouldn’t be necessary if Düsseldorf win the big game with Kiel at the same time. Victory could also then set up for a winners-takes-all title clash with Düsseldorf the week after. As for Braunschweig, they remain in big trouble just one point clear of 16th-placed SpVgg Greuther Fürth, with games against FC Ingolstadt 04 and Kiel still to come.