With just four points on the board after six games of the season, the last thing 1. FC Nürnberg would have wanted was to lose their number one striker.
New-look Nürnberg attack
That misfortune happened this week when summer recruit Daniel Ginczek broke his toe in training. A six-week break means coach Michael Wiesinger must find an alternative, although he is not going to cry over spilt milk.
Waiting in the wings is Tomas Pekhart, and Wiesinger is convinced the Czech forward can help the Bavarians to their first win of the season. “He’s a player who serves the team well and always gives it his best,” Wiesinger said. “We know that we can rely on him. He accepted that Daniel was ahead of him in the pecking order and has always given it his all in training.”
It is a recipe which worked back in May, when Pekhart struck in a 3-2 win in Nuremberg, and he is motivated to impress. “I’ve worked hard for this chance,” he said. “It wasn’t an easy time for me, but now I want to give 100 per cent. It would be nice to score against Bremen again, but what matters the most is that we are successful as a team.”
That nearly worked a week ago with Der Club becoming the first side all season to take points off Borussia Dortmund. “We showed last week that we can hold our own even against the big teams, and of course we want to take some points from Bremen,” said Marvin Plattenhardt. Wiesinger hopes his side will have “saved” that performance in their memory. “But now we finally need a win,” he added.
Maximum effort required
Bremen got back to winning ways in a northern Germany derby against Hamburg, but that result belongs in the past as far as their coach Robin Dutt is concerned. “The biggest mistake you can make is believing that the fixture list is doing you a favour,” he said, suggesting Nürnberg are not a side to be under-estimated. “They are always hard to play against and if we want to win, we’ve got to be at our very best. If we only play 90 per cent and Nürnberg 100, then we’ll lose. We’d have no chance. That’s how tight the Bundesliga is and we’ve got to fight to the extreme.”
Dutt is unable to name an unchanged side from the derby victory, although he is likely to be able to count on Zlatko Junuzovic again. “With Felix Kroos, Mehmet Ekici and Zlatko, we have three alternatives who can replace the injured Aleksandar Ignjovski,” said Dutt. Whoever steps in will be required to do a solid job, as Dutt says: “It’s going to be a tenacious game.”
Bremen: Mielitz - Fritz, Lukimya, Caldirola, Garcia - Makiadi, Kroos - Elia, Hunt, Ekici - Petersen
Nürnberg: Schäfer - Chandler, Nilsson, Pogatetz, Plattenhardt - Stark - Hasebe, Frantz - Kiyotake, Hlousek - Pekhart