Munich - Eintracht Frankfurt's 2-1 at Nuremberg was Armin Veh's side's fourth consecutive win - a new record for a promoted side. However, Nuremberg proved that they too have the quality to become one of this season's surprise packages.
Veh: "It's early stages"
Frankfurt might still be a long way from reproducing 1. FC Kaiserslautern's epic 1997/1998 Bundesliga-winning campaign when the Red Devils won the title in the first season after going up, but, it should be pointed out that Kaiserslautern snatched only 10 points in their first four matches back then.
Both Veh and Nuremberg's coach Dieter Hecking were delighted with their sides' performances. "It was an intense encounter, both teams played really well," Veh said at the press conference after the game, adding that "I would take my hat off to my team if I had one on."
Nevertheless, Veh stressed that it's only early stages and tried to play down any errant expectations. "More difficult times might yet come for us", said the former Hamburger SV, VfL Wolfsburg and VfB Stuttgart coach, highlighting that Friday's win would only contribute to the club staying in the Bundesliga: "We're on twelve points after four Matchdays, therefore we are a step closer to our target."
Veh has been fielding the same starting eleven in each game, but the club's success is also courtesy of its strong bench - Austria international Erwin Hoffer replaced the injured forward Olivier Occean after 21 minutes only to score Eintracht's opener four minutes later and Martin Lanig has already struck twice after coming on late this season.
"Their first shot on goal went in," said Hecking. "We then completely lost our rhythm." Indeed, Nuremberg dominated the opening stages, but Frankfurt deserved to be up at half-time as their play looked more fluent and, without being crude, simple.
Nuremberg's playmaker Hiroshi Kiyotake has been impressive since joining the Franconian side in the summer with four assists and one goal in the Bundesliga, however, it was Takashi Inui who looked the better of the two Japanese players, not only thanks to his 2-0 when the former VfL Bochum midfielder went past four defenders to coolly slot the ball home.
Dortmund on Tuesday
Hecking's side kept their heads up despite the clear deficit and went close to levelling as they pushed for the equaliser after Sebastian Polter's 1-2 (76'), but another attempt by the goalscorer in the final minute went just wide.
Frankfurt have the chance to prove their true title credentials on Tuesday when they take on champions Borussia Dortmund while Nuremberg will travel to play Hannover 96 on Wednesday.