Nuremberg - Seven points from their first three games suggested the Nuremberg faithful could justifiably hope for another top-half finish. That was until a run of four straight defeats left them floundering near the foot of the table. While the Franconians have staged a mini-recovery, their position remain precarious. 2013 will be an even bigger challenge after the departure of long-standing head coach Dieter Hecking and subsequent appointment of Michael Wiesinger.

Nuremberg's 2-1 defeat at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 4 marked the start of a miserable October for Der Club, who went on to lose each of their next three matches. However, their subsequent 1-0 win against VfL Wolfsburg on Matchday 10 was hugely important for the squad. It proved the springboard for an excellent run, with wins against 1899 Hoffenheim and Fortuna Düsseldorf preceded by a gutsy draw at local rivals and runaway league leaders FC Bayern Munich.

Hailed as the 'next Shinji Kagawa' upon his arrival in Bavaria, Hiroshi Kiyotake, has shone as the creative heartbeat of Nuremberg's midfield. The Japanese international has netted three Bundesliga goals, making him Der Club's joint-top scorer along with Sebastian Polter. The skilful playmaker has also assisted a further five and is a real menace from dead-ball situations.

Given that Timothy Chandler has been a regular in the Nuremberg backline since joining from Eintracht Frankfurt midway through the 2010/11 campaign, it's sometimes difficult to remember the USA international is still only 22. The right-back's athletic physique makes him an intimidating opponent for any left winger, while his marauding runs forward have become a feature of the Franconians' play.

2 - Nuremberg have conceded fewer goals from set-pieces than any other team in the Bundesliga this season.
5 - New signing Hiroshi Kiyotake has already provided five assists this term - more than any Nuremberg player in the entirety of last season.
7 - Nuremberg have not lost any of the games in which they've scored the first goal (five wins, two draws)
47 - Percentage of Nuremberg goals which have come from set-pieces, higher than any other team.

"We've got 20 points and need a lot more. We went through a difficult phase in the first half of the season but managed to stabilise ourselves. Now we're looking spick and span, especially in terms of what's going on below us." Nuremberg midfielder Hanno Balitsch gives his assessment of the season so far.