Borussia Dortmund’s title hopes rest on Bayern Munich dropping points in one of their final four matches. Nuremberg say they need a “perfect day” to get a positive result against the pacesetters this weekend.
The hosts are in need of points to help them get out of the relegation zone, and Boris Schommers’ side could do Dortmund a huge favour if they earn Bavarian bragging rights.
“We know we need a perfect day if we’re to get something against Bayern,” Nuremberg’s interim coach said. “That’s what we’re working on.”
“We can’t allow them much space, and we have to work at 100 per cent off the ball,” he said. “But in the last few games we’ve seen that Bayern also give up chances – we’ll have to take them.”
Bayern have racked up 28 goals in their last seven Bundesliga matches, but Schommers insists his team will not hold back in trying to start making up a three-point gap to third-bottom Stuttgart this weekend.
“Fear has to be ruled out,” the 40-year-old said. “The lads are really looking forward to this game. We have nothing to lose… we’re working really hard to make our perfect day work out.”
Watch: See how Lewandowski downed Nuremberg earlier this season
Nuremberg are a historic powerhouse of German football, winning nine national titles in their history – second only to Bayern.
However, only one of those – in 1968 – have come in the Bundesliga era. After being promoted at the end of last season, Der Club are now battling to re-establish themselves as a top-flight side.
Nuremberg lost 3-0 in Munich in December but they are a different proposition at home. If in doubt, just ask Dortmund. Lucien Favre’s team thrashed the relegation candidates 7-0 at the Signal Iduna Park in September, but they were held to a scoreless draw in February’s return match in Bavaria.
All three of Nuremberg’s wins this season have come at the Max-Morlock Stadion, where they have conceded only 17 goals in 15 matches so far. Looking more solid since Schommers took over, they now have the fourth-best defensive home record in the Bundesliga.
But the Nuremberg boss is aware that even a top performance from his team might not be enough against the defending German champions, who have won 16 of their last 18 Bundesliga matches.
“It could happen – because of the quality of the opponent – that we have a perfect day… and in the end it’s not enough,” Schommers said.
Nuremberg, whose fans have a long-standing fondness for Dortmund’s rivals Schalke, lost 2-0 at Bayer Leverkusen last time out. BVB supporters will be hoping that the underdogs can take heart from Freiburg, though, who held Bayern to a 1-1 draw on Matchday 27.
The home side do have some form when it comes to upsetting their more illustrious neighbours, who hail from 170 kilometres south of the second-largest city in Bavaria. Since 2010, Bayern have only dropped more points from winning positions away at Leverkusen (nine) than they have in Nuremberg (six), while the Munich giants have been pegged back after scoring first in three of their last five visits to their Bavarian neighbours.
So even if Niko Kovac’s visitors do open the scoring or take the lead, Dortmund fans know the game is far from over, while Stuttgart and Hannover supporters will be equally on edge down at the bottom. Sunday's match could have huge ramifications at both ends of the Bundesliga table.