Centre-back Ozan Kabak was the unlikely hero as VfB Stuttgart rescued a valuable share of the points with a 1-1 draw against relegation rivals Nuremberg.
Goals: 0-1 Pereira (42’), 1-1 Kabak (75’)
Given this was something of a relegation six-pointer, both teams started with considerable attacking intent. Nuremberg had a chance from a corner early on, but Santiago Ascacibar – back following a suspension – picked up possession and launched a counter which ultimately came to nothing. Steven Zuber then had a gilt-edged chance to bag his sixth Stuttgart goal following his winter loan deal from Hoffenheim, but fired straight at Christian Mathenia. Matheus Pereira broke forward and tried a shot at the other end, but his left-footed effort didn’t have the requisite power to test Mathenia’s opposite number Ron-Robert Zieler in the home goal. Fellow winger Sebastian Kerk made way for Yuya Kubo midway through the half, and the extra verve in the final third served the visitors well. Boris Schommers’s men heaped on the pressure and when Lukas Mühl’s header came back off the crossbar, Pereira was there to head home from close range.
Stuttgart coach Markus Weinzierl sent attacking midfielder Daniel Didavi on for right-back Andreas Beck at the start of the second half in an attempt to turn the tide, but with Nuremberg doing a good job of sitting back and absorbing the attacking pressure, Schommers sent the pacey Virgil Misidjan into the fray for the final 20 minutes. Tim Leibold thought he had made the game safe when he broke forward and let fly, but Bayern Munich-bound Benjamin Pavard got just enough on the Nuremberg left-back’s shot to deflect it wide of the far post. Stuttgart then forced their way back onto level terms when Kabak got the break of the ball in the visiting box before grabbing his third goal of the year.
- Kabak has scored three goals for Stuttgart this year. The centre-back, 19, only made his debut in January.
- Without a goal in his first 15 appearances for Nuremberg, Pereira has now scored in his last two games.
- Nuremberg have only conceded seven goals in their last seven games. Only Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt have been stronger over the same period.
Stuttgart: Zieler – Beck (Didavi 46'), Kabak, Pavard, Kempf, Insua (Sosa 78') – Esswein (Gonzalez 60'), Ascacibar, Zuber – Donis, Gomez (c)
Unused subs: Grahl, Baumgartl, Thommy, Badstuber
Out: Akolo (groin), Castro (calf), Gentner (calf)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Nuremberg: Mathenia – Bauer, Mühl, Ewerton, Leibold – Löwen, Erras – Pereira, Behrens (c), Kerk (Kubo 26' (Petrak 88')) – Ishak (Misidjan 68')
Unused subs: Bredlow, Margreitter, Fuchs, Tillman
Out: Lippert (knee), Valentini (thigh), Zrelak (cruciate ligament)
Coach: Boris Schommers