Stuttgart - VfB Stuttgart were held to a 1-1 draw by 1. FC Nürnberg as new head coach Gertjan Verbeek got off to an unbeaten start to his tenure at der Club.
Vedad Ibisevic gave Stuttgart an early lead from the penalty spot, but the visitors hit back just three minutes later when Josip Drmic slid the ball past Sven Ulreich from close range. Both sides were forced to settle for a point with clear-cut chances at a premium in the second half, leaving 1. FC Nürnberg without a win this season.
Both teams started brightly in a frantic opening, but it was Stuttgart, unbeaten since the appointment of Thomas Schneider in late August, who took the lead after just three minutes. Niklas Stark brought down Alexandru Maxim in the penalty area, giving the referee little choice but to point to the spot. Ibisevic stepped up and confidently fired the spot-kick past Raphael Schäfer, putting the hosts in front with his seventh goal of the season.
The visitors were unruffled by that early setback, however, and responded just three minutes later when Swiss forward Drmic, scorer of Nürnberg's goal in the recent 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, picked up Timothy Chandler's long ball before coolly slotting the ball inside the far post with the outside of his right boot.
Stuttgart upped the tempo following Drmic's equaliser, but found clear-cut chances increasingly hard to come by as the game progressed. Ibrahima Traore was unlucky to see his cross-cum-shot cannon off the post in the 23rd minute, before Ibisevic's spectacular bicycle-kick hit the side-netting. Nürnberg, meanwhile, were looking to hurt their opponents on the counter-attack and almost found the net through Adam Hlousek only for the Czech winger to drag his effort off-target.
The second half began in a slightly more subdued fashion with Verbeek's charges adopting a more disciplined approach. Maxim was at the heart of most of Stuttgart's creativity and the Romanian playmaker, who has been involved in nine goals so far this season, twice came close to setting up Stuttgart's second, with both captain Christian Gentner and Ibisevic nodding just wide from set-pieces.
Stuttgart almost caught cold
Stuttgart began pushing forward in search of an elusive winner, but were finding it difficult to break down their deep-lying visitors, while Nürnberg were increasingly dangerous on the break. Verbeek's team went within inches of taking the lead, yet last season's Bundesliga 2 top goalscorer Daniel Ginczek failed to get the better of Ulreich despite having only the keeper to beat.
The 22-year-old had another chance to hand Nürnberg an unlikely victory eight minutes from time, firing just wide from close range, before Maxim saw his effort cleared by full-back Emanuel Pogatetz at other end of the pitch. Neither side was able to find a winner but, although Nürnberg remain without a victory this season, Verbeek will be happy with a point from his opening game as Nürnberg coach.
Line-ups and statistics
1. FC Nürnberg could have done with a moment of magic such as this one which can be witnessed on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: