Hiroshi Kiyotake's (r.) Nürnberg could overhaul Werder Bremen in the table with a win on Saturday evening
Hiroshi Kiyotake's (r.) Nürnberg could overhaul Werder Bremen in the table with a win on Saturday evening

Nürnberg braced for Relegation showdown with Bremen

Nuremberg - 1. FC Nürnberg aim to get back to winning ways when they take on fellow relegation strugglers SV Werder Bremen at the Grundig Stadion on Saturday evening (kick-off: 17:30 GMT / 18:30 CET).

'Have to do better'

The Franconians suffered a setback away to Borussia Dortmund last weekend, and, despite two victories in their previous outings against Eintracht Braunschweig and FC Augsburg, head coach Gertjan Verbeek has made it clear three points are a must against Bremen. "We need to win, and I'm sure the team will have the right attitude," said the 51-year-old Dutchman.

Following a topsy-turvy first half of the season in which Nürnberg failed to win a single league game, the Cluberer have since been able to kick-start their campaign, winning four of their six matches in 2014 to climb from 17th up to 14th place.

Verbeek hinted he believes his charges have a good chance of enhancing that record against Werder and overhaul the Green-Whites' two-point advantage in the table. Nevertheless, he also stated that Nürnberg will have to up their game if they are to overcome their visitors: "We can definitely beat Werder at home but we'll have to do better than against Dortmund. We were pinned back for most the game and we'll need to avoid that happening against Bremen."

Campana to start

The coach confirmed that Spain Under-21 midfielder Jose Campana will earn his first start in the Nürnberg side since joining the Bavarians during the winter break. The newcomer will replace the suspended Markus Feulner, while Timo Gebhart and long-term casualties Makoto Hasebe, Timothy Chandler and Daniel Ginczek are all unavailable for the encounter.

Bremen, meanwhile, are hoping to build on their recent 1-0 home success against northern rivals Hamburger SV and extend their unbeaten run to four games. "Overcoming Nürnberg will be much more difficult than when we beat Hamburg," said vice captain Aaron Hunt, who provided a stunning backheeled assist in that fixture. "That victory will only be worth something if we can pick up points in Nürnberg as well."

'The most in-form side'

Werder boss Robin Dutt was similarly cautious, highlighting FCN's progress since the sides' previous meeting in September, which ended in a 3-3 draw: "We need to give our all against Nürnberg. They're a side that take a lot of risks, but do so really well. Of the teams in the bottom half of the table, they're certainly the most in-form side."

The former Bayer 04 Leverkusen coach will have to do without injured left-back Santiago Garcia, but can call upon midfielders Felix Kroos and Philipp Bargfrede, who have both recovered from knocks and should be available for the trip south.

Possible line-ups:

Nürnberg: Schäfer - Angha, Petrak, Pinola, Plattenhardt - Frantz - Drmic, Kiyotake, Campana, Hlousek - Pekhart

Bremen: Wolf - Ignjovski, Prödl, Lukimya, Caldirola - Bargfrede - Junuzovic, Obraniak - Hunt - di Santo, Petersen

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