Bundesliga 2 side Nuremberg earned a 1-1 draw at home to Arsenal in a pre-season friendly on Thursday.
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Nuremberg 1-1 Arsenal
Goals: 0-1 Saka (7'), 1-1 Okunuki (62')
Nuremberg began brightly and bravely played out from the back against last season’s Premier League runners-up, who soon asserted themselves on the game. Arsenal took the lead as early as the seventh minute when Bukayo Saka collected a long ball forward down the right, jinked inside and smashed a low shot inside the far post. The Gunners remained on top for the remainder of the half, with Der Club only sporadically able to ease the pressure, Kwadwo Duah firing wide from distance with their only opportunity of note before the interval.
Both sides made a number of changes in the second half, but it was Arsenal who had the best early openings to add to the scoreline, with Folarin Baloun hitting the post moments after taking to the pitch. However, it was Nuremberg who scored next when Kanji Okunuki intercepted a loose pass out from the back from Arsenal goalkeeper Karl Hein, poking the ball in from 35 yards out. That gave Christian Fiel’s side confidence to push forward and they nearly grabbed a winner when Ali Loune’s powerful long-range shot was saved by Hein, and Christoph Daferner looping the rebound onto the crossbar. Balogun struck the side netting as the final whistle approached on what was ultimately an entertaining draw.
Get your hands on Nuremberg’s new jerseys for 2023/24
Watch: Highlights from Arsenal's visit to Nuremberg last year
- Nuremberg and Arsenal have never met in a competitive fixture.
- Der Club were once Germany’s record champions with nine titles, until overtaken by Bayern Munich in 1987. They still rank second and are also four-time DFB Cup winners.
- Nuremberg’s only competitive games against an English opponent have been against Everton, over two legs in the Fairs Cup in 1965 and once in the UEFA Cup group stage in 2007/08.
- The Gunners’ competitive record away at German opposition is six wins, five draws and 10 defeats.
- Their heaviest defeats in European competition have all come against German opposition, losing 5-1 three times to Bayern in the UEFA Champions League.
- New signing Havertz made 118 Bundesliga appearances for Leverkusen, including two against Nuremberg (one goal).
Nuremberg: Mathenia (Klaus 46') – Valentini (Gyamerah 68'), Lawrence (Gürleyen 68'), Marquez (Hübner 68'), Brown – Okunuki (Schleimer 68'), Möller Daehli (Daferner 68'), Geis (Loune 68'), Handwerker (Castrop 68') – Hayashi (Lohkemper 68'), Duah (Goller 46')
Unused subs: -
Out: Duman (muscular), Hofmann (broken collarbone), Horn (muscular), Schindler (cruciate ligament), Wekesser (cruciate ligament)
Coach: Cristian Fiel
Arsenal: Ramsdale (Hein 46') – White (Walters 77'), Saliba (Cedric 46'), Gabriel (Trusty 60'), Kiwior (Tierney 46') – Partey (Jorginho 46'), Fabio Vieira (Nwaneri 60') – Trossard (Balogun 55'), Saka (Gabriel Jesus 46'), Nelson (Havertz 46'), Nketiah (Lewis-Skelly 78')
Unused subs: -
Out: Elneny (knee), Martinelli (ankle), Smith Rowe (holiday), Turner (holiday)
Remaining touring squad: Hein, Ramsdale, Runarsson, Tomiyasu, Saliba, Walters, Trusty, Zinchenko, Tierney, Kiwior, Elneny, Jorginho, Havertz, Sambi Lokonga, Lewis-Skelly, Nwaneri, Vieira, Balogun, Martinelli, Nketiah, Marquinhos, Saka, Pepe
Coach: Mikel Arteta
As it happened!
A much-improved second-half performance from Nuremberg earns them a draw against Arsenal. The Gunners were on top in the first 45 minutes and took the lead through Bukayo Saka’s early strike, but Kanji Okunuki capitalised on a defensive error midway through the second half to level the score. Both teams had chances to snatch a win late on, but it ends honours even.
Balogun to win it!
Arsenal have an opportunity to have the final word as Balogun sprints away from the defence, takes it around Klaus and shoots - similar to his earlier chance - but he gets his angles wrong again and can only find the side netting.
Over from Castrop!
NUremberg go so close to a winner as Goller dribbles into the box, cuts back and lays the ball off for Castrop, whose first-time drive fizzes just over the bar.
Another good chance for Nuremberg as Goller jinks forward, forcing the defence to back track. He spies Daferner's run off to his right and slips the ball through, but the striker's shot from an angle is blocked.
Smiles all round Der Club celebrate their equaliser.
All the substitutions have allowed Nuremberg back into the game. Their goal, plus the chance for Daferner, have given them greater confidence and Der Club are on the front foot right now. It could go either way.
Almost the lead!
Hein can't keep hold of Loune's powerful shot from distance and Daferner is first to the rebound. He loops the ball over the goalkeeper but it hits the crossbar and is cleared!
Moments after seeing Nuremberg make life hard for themselves, Arsenal do exactly the same thing - only this time they're made to pay. Goalkeeper Hain's pass out from the back isn't precise enough, allowing Okunuki to nip in ahead of his marker and poke the ball in from 30 yards out!
Nuremberg play themselves into trouble as they try to pass the ball out from the back in the face of high pressing. Arsenal win the ball back and after skipping past the goalkeeper, Balogun can only hit the post from a tight angle!
Positive from Hayashi
The midfielder skips forward down the left, unafraid to take on his marker. He gets to the byline and crosses into the middle, but there's nobody in a Nuremberg shirt to meet it, allowing Arsenal to clear.
Chance for Gabriel Jesus!
The Brazilian striker ghosts in behind the Nuremberg defence, who are caught napping at a throw-in. He bears down on goal and only has the goalkeeper to beat, but guides his shot from the left just wide of the far post.
Five new faces for Arsenal
Havertz is one of a handful of substitutes to come on for the Gunners, replacing Nelson. Gabriel Jesus, Hein, Tierney, Cedric and Jorginho are also all on, with Ramsdale, Kiwior, Saka, Saliba and Partey making way.
Two changes for Nuremberg
Der Club have made changes at opposite ends of the pitch, with Klaus replacing Mathenia between the posts, and Goller coming on for Duah up top.
All to play for
Nuremberg started well and went on the front foot in the opening minutes, before the Premier League side asserted their authority on the game. Saka’s well-taken early goal is the difference between the teams at the break, but Arsenal have been in control for the majority.
The home side win possession in midfield, with Duah spreading the ball wide on the right to Hayashi. He feeds it into the path over Valentini on the overlap, but the full-back's cross into the middle - aiming for Okunuki - is too close to Ramsdale, who snuffs out the danger.
Battling hardOkunki (r.) and Partey (l.) jostle for the ball in the middle of the park.
© IMAGO/Jan Huebner
Free-kick in a promising position
Partey brings down Brown around 35 yards from goal, left of centre. It's a good opportunity for the home side to pack the box and maybe try and nick an equaliser, but the delivery from the set-piece is poor and Arsenal clear easily.
Duah tries his luck
Arsenal lose the ball cheaply in midfield and Der Club immediately try to make it count. Duah is in possession around 30 yards and in plenty of space, but his shot from distance goes well wide of the target.
No way out
The game is being played almost exclusively in Nuremberg's half at present. They hosts can't keep the ball for very long and are only managing to get forward sporadically.
Nuremberg are packing the defence in the middle, forcing Arsenal to try their luck from distance - and the Gunners aren't shy to do so. Saka has a turn this time, but his well-struck shot is matched by a fine save from Mathenia, who gets down well to his left.
Kiwior has a go
Saka again threatens down the Arsenal right. He cuts inside and passes to a teammate on the edge of the box, before the ball is worked further left to Kiwior, arriving late. The defender shoots at goal but his effort strikes a teammate and is cleared.
Partey drills over
More patient play from the English side as the ball is worked to Partey, around 10 yards outside the penalty area. The midfielder smacks a first-time effort at goal that whistles narrowly over the bar.
Arsenal are building up even more pressure now and after exchanging passes on the edge of the box, the ball falls to Nketiah, whose first-time effort loops up off a defender's leg and threatens to sneak in under the crossbar. Mathenia is alert to the danger though, and tips over the bar.
Fast pacedTrossard (l.) and Hayashi (r.) tussle for possession.
© IMAGO/Jan Huebner
White pings a long ball forward from the back and finds Saka on the right. The England international jinks inside his marker inside the box and drills low shot across the face of goal and into the bottom corner.
First chance of the game!
Nelson makes a nuisance of himself down the left, gets into the box and flicks the ball inside to Nketiah. The striker shapes to shoot but Mathenia is quick off his line to smother the shot.
Approximately 30,000 fans are in attendance in glorious evening sunshine at the Max-Morlock-Stadion.
Nuremberg are unfazed by their illustrious opponents and have begun by playing the ball around among themselves. Arsenal push high up the pitch but Der Club don't change their approach and play the ball out from the back. Impressive stuff!
Here we go!
Nuremberg get the ball rolling in Bavaria!
Not long to go
The players are now out on the pitch for pre-game handshakes and the coin toss. We'll be under way very soon!
Atmosphere buildingThere's plenty of pre-match love for Germany international and new Arsenal signing Kai Havertz...
Nuremberg starting XI
Mathenia – Valentini, Lawrence, Marquez, Brown – Okunuki, Möller Daehli, Geis, Handwerker – Hayashi, Duah,
Klaus, Gürleyen, Lohkemper, Goller, Castrop, Hübner, Gyamerah, Daferner, Schleimer, Loune
Arsenal starting XI
Ramsdale – White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior – Partey, Odegaard – Trossard, Saka, Nelson, Nketiah
Hein, Cedric, Tierney, Trusty, Walters, Fabio Vieira, Havertz, Jorginho, Lewis-Skelly, Nwaneri, Balogun, Gabriel Jesus
Watch: Weekend highlights
Nuremberg beat Hungarian side Diosgyori 3-1 at the weekend in the last of three friendly matches at their pre-season training camp in Austria.
Last season – Nuremberg
Der Club are one of the biggest names in Bundesliga 2, but struggled for consistency in 2022/23 and were a long way off the promotion hunt, finishing in 14th place and just five points above the relegation play-off places, thanks in large part to them taking six points from their last four games (W1 D3).
One to watch: Johannes Geis Bavarian local Johannes Geis pulls the strings for Nuremberg in midfield. Having made a name for himself first with Greuther Fürth and then at Mainz, the playmaker earned a high-profile move to Schalke in 2015, before a year on loan at Sevilla in 2017/18. During his time in Spain he played against two English teams in the UEFA Champions League: a 3-3 draw with Liverpool and a 2-1 win over Manchester United.
© Getty Images
Watch: Happy hunting ground for NelsonArsenal attacker Reiss Nelson, who earlier this month signed a new long-term contract extension with the Gunners, also has a Bundesliga past having played for Hoffenheim in 2018/19. The English youngster provided seven goals and one assist in 29 outings for TSG in that campaign, including two in Nuremberg as he helped Julian Nagelsmann’s side to a 3-1 success.
Indeed, Havertz scored on his only previous club appearance at Nuremberg’s Max-Morlock-Stadion, finding the net in a 1-1 draw in December 2018.
Watch: The best of Havertz in the BundesligaEnjoy the highlight reel of new Arsenal signing Kai Havertz during his time in the Bundesliga at Bayer Leverkusen between 2016 and 2020.
If it seems like a prestigious summer friendly, you're right. But there is logic behind it. Arsenal are currently in Germany on a pre-season training camp as they gear up for the new campaign in England, and have based themselves at the headquarters of kit manufacturer adidas in the town of Herzogenaurach, which lies just 25 kilometres (15 miles) or so north-west of Nuremberg. And with Der Club likewise going full throttle before the start of the Bundesliga 2 season, the situation lends itself to a mutually beneficial friendly.
These teams have never previously met in a competitive fixture, while their first encounter - almost exactly a year ago to the day on 8 July 2022 - ended in a 5-3 win for Arsenal, despite Der Club taking a 2-0 lead after 29 minutes. Two own goals and two strikes from Gabriel Jesus turned the match in the Gunners' favour at the Max-Morlock-Stadion that day.
Hello and welcome
Thank you for joining us for build-up and live match coverage of this pre-season friendly between Nuremberg and Arsenal.