In truth, the first half of the year arguably surpassed expectations but following last May’s tenth-placed finish, events at the Grundig Stadion have taken a significant turn for the worse.
With Nürnberg wallowing in the bottom three in the wake of five draws and three defeats after Matchday 8, Michael Wiesinger made way for new head coach Gertjan Verbeek, who in his first eight matches in charge has garnered just as many points* (five) as his predecessor. Indeed,only a marginally superior goal difference ratio currently keeping the Dutchman’s winless charges off the foot of the table.
Nürnberg top scorer Josep Drmic might not be classed as a ‘matchwinner’ just yet, but it’s not for his want of trying. Were it not for the Swiss striker’s six Bundesliga goals so far this term, the Franconian outfit would be level on goal difference, as well as points, with bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig.
Trailing 16th-placed Freiburg by just three points, Nürnberg will hope to put some much-needed breathing space between themselves and the bottom three in the New Year. All it takes is for one of those league-high 16 woodwork-rattling strikes to fall the right side of the post and Verbeek could well be on to a winner.
"We didn't score any goals," lamented Verbeek after Nürnberg's sorry 3-0 defeat at home to fellow strugglers SC Freiburg. "That's a problem if you want to win games." The man makes a valid point...
After netting 18 times in 31 Bundesliga 2 appearances for FC St. Pauli in 2012/13, the summer acquisition of Daniel Ginczek looked a very welcome addition indeed to a side that found the net just 39 times over the course of the previous campaign. Fighting fit following a spell on the sidelines, the former Dortmund striker will be desperate to prove his top-flight pedigree by adding to his two Bundesliga goals in 2014.
*U-23 coach Roger Prinzen was in charge for the Matchday 9 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt.