Frankfurt - Japanese trio Hiroshi Kiyotake, Takashi Inui and Mu Kanazaki assembled at the Commerzbank-Arena, where Eintracht Frankfurt and 1. FC Nuremberg played out a tightly-contested goalless draw.
Kiyotake: key attacker
Try as they might, neither Inui nor Kiyotake could find the key to unlock the respective defences.
Eintracht had won five of the six games in which coach Armin Veh named an unchanged starting XI following victory a week earlier. So it was no surprise to see the Eagles line up as they were after the Matchday 20 win in Hamburg. Stefan Aigner was his usual sprightly self in the engine room, but the snowy conditions got the better of the midfielder as well as several of his team-mates.
The visitors carried a more obvious threat, with Kiyotake pulling the strings and very nearly serving up an opener. The Japanese international displayed great composure to slot the ball through his marker's legs, before teeing up Tomas Pekhart, whose sizzling drive was well saved by Eagles goalkeeper Kevin Trapp. Pekhart was on the receiving end of another fine Kiyotake pass later in the half, but was unable to direct his header on target.
Everything for the visitors was going through the lively Kiyotake, but not to be outdone by his Japanese compatriot, Eintracht's Inui took the bull by the horns at the start of the second half, firing an effort straight down Rafael Schäfer's throat. Frustrations were beginning to creep in on both sides, though, with clear-cut chances proving unbelievably hard to come by as the game wore on.
Not even the prolific Alexander Meier could turn the tide in his side's favour, with Schäfer again equal to the task to deny the towering forward a 13th Bundesliga goal of the season. Nuremberg's Kanazaki missed out on the opportunity to join his far eastern representatives on the field of play, but it was nevertheless a pleasing performance from the Franconian side in their bid to avoid the drop.
Line-ups and statistics