Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking, facing his former club for the first time since leaving them in December, saw his side establish a two-goal lead within half an hour through superb strikes from Diego and Ivica Olic, but Timmy Simons and Per Nilsson replied in the second half to snatch a point for the Bavarians.
Nuremberg soon learned the hard way that fouling around the penalty area is a risk as the Brazilian curled Wolfsburg in front with the first shot of the game, a 20-yard free-kick which left no chance. It was the Brazilian’s 12th goal direct from a free-kick in the Bundesliga, more than any other active player.
It was the third time this season that Nuremberg had conceded so early on in a game and the fact they have not managed to win after going behind in their last 32 attempts did not bode well for Michael Wiesinger’s troops. They tried immediately to alter that statistic with sending through, but did enough to put him off as he shot inches wide of the left-hand upright.
Refusing to lie down
Nuremberg had to come at their hosts, who welcomed every chance they got to break. went close with a header at the end of one counterattack as Diego inspired his team’s attacks. Timothy Chandler had Benaglio at full stretch to tip his shot over at the other end before Wolfsburg doubled their advantage through Olic, whose superb curling strike from outside the area was again too far out of Schäfer’s reach.
The Croatian striker's sixth goal in his last five appearances gave Hecking’s men some breathing space, but it was soon snatched away again by a resurgent Nuremberg side who refused to lie down. After Esswein was denied by Benaglio from a tight angle, unleashed an unstoppable volley from nearly 30 yards which the Swiss goalkeeper could do little about as the visitors got a foothold in the game.
Kiyotake's free-kick prowess
That strike was Simons’ fourth of the season, making him Der Club’s joint top goalscorer alongside Markus Feulner, Kiyotake and Sebastian Polter. Nilsson edged closer to equalling their tally when he grabbed his third of the season to bring Nuremberg level from Kiyotake’s free-kick.
It was the Japanese midfielder’s ninth assist from a set-piece, a league record this term, and he almost set up Feulner for a winner from open play, but the former FC Bayern Munich midfielder delayed too long, allowing Medojevic to get back and put him off as Wolfsburg managed to hold on for a point.
Line-ups and statistics