Nuremberg - The 185th Franconian-Bavarian derby took a while to heat up, but once both sides had opened their accounts FC Bayern Munich's trip to 1. FC Nuremberg became a spectacle worthy of its status, as the record title-holders dropped points for only the second time this season in a fiercely-contested 1-1 draw.
It was the first time in 34 matches that Bayern failed to collect all three points after scoring the opening goal, with Mario Mandzukic once again on hand to break the deadlock this time round. Markus Feulner netted against his former club to level the scores and, despite Timo Gebhart seeing red late on, Nuremberg dug in to pick up a point their performance fully deserved.
Bayern head coach Jupp Heynckes rang the changes, making six alterations to the side that started against Frankfurt (2-0), while his Nuremberg counterpart Dieter Hecking followed suit by bringing in five new faces. However, it was the visitors who made the most of the early uncertainty, as Javier Pinola's lapse in concentration allowed Toni Kroos to feed Mandzukic, who made no mistake in slotting home his ninth goal of the season.
Nuremberg didn't shrink back inside their shell though as David Alaba produced a last-ditch tackle to deny Sebastian Polter, playing as the lone striker in Tomas Pekhart's stead, from testing Manuel Neuer before Gebhart sent an effort into the stands. The record title-holders clearly had the upper hand as they cleverly dictated proceedings in the opening half an hour, preventing Nuremberg from striking any sort of rhythm, but a distinct lack of urgency offered the hosts an avenue back into the game.
Hosts punish Bayern
Unfortunately a clinical pass to unlock Bayern's sturdy backline was not forthcoming and as a result it was the visitors who went closest to adding to the scoreline. Shaqiri split Nuremberg's defence to find Rafinha, but one-on-one, the Brazilian right-back couldn't steer his shot around the returning Rafael Schäfer. The Swiss youngster was at the heart of Bayern's best moves, blasting over from Mandzukic's knock-down, before finding Kroos to head tamely towards goal, but in the end Bayern settled for a one-goal lead at the break.
Hecking must have had some inspirational words for his side at half-time though, as they plucked up their courage to strike back immediately after the restart. Anatoliy Tymoshchuck, making his first start of the season, conceded possession sloppily and, when no one closed him down, Markus Feulner unleashed a dipping drive that had Neuer beaten all ends up. Nuremberg should have taken the lead less than a minute later, but Gentner failed to make the most of a four-on-two situation by scuffing his shot and allowing Bayern to clear their lines.
Fireworks set alight
Nuremberg's equaliser soon saw the fixture take on the characteristics of a derby as every decision became contested and players on either side picked up bookings for cynical challenges. However, the hosts' bravery showed no signs of waning as Sebastian Polter's header drew a world-class save out of Manuel Neuer before Per Nilsson's aerial attempt momentarily sent hearts fluttering before harmlessly rustling the side netting.
Shaqiri took it upon himself to try and carve out a chance single-handedly, but having ghosted past four Nuremberg players to get into the box, the winger dallied too long in getting his shot off as the opportunity was wasted. Bayern, under pressure, were handed a much-needed lifeline when Gebhart picked up a second yellow card, and with it an early bath,after fouling Bastian Schweinsteiger fifteen minutes from time.
Too little, too late
It was a backs-to-the-wall job for der Club in the closing stages, but the visitors struggled to make use of their man advantage as Shaqiri fizzed an effort inches wide, while Timm Klose got a crucial block on Claudio Pizarro's late effort. However, Nuremberg were good value for their point and rode out Bayern's late pressure to clinch a vital result for their season.
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