Nuremberg - SV Werder Bremen and fair play were the winners at the Grundig Stadion as the guests triumphed 2-0 over 1. FC Nürnberg.
Fair play to the fore
Franco Di Santo and Philipp Bargfrede scored the goals for Robin Dutt's charges, taking them eight points clear of the relegation zone. However, the game will be remembered also for the honesty of Hiroshi Kiyotake and Aaron Hunt, who both overruled refereeing decisions in their favour, showing exemplary fair play, despite the stakes being so high.
With the youngest starting XI in over two years, including debutant Jose Campana, Nürnberg took the game to their guests with the verve one might expect. Had it not been for Luca Caldirola's intervention after Raphael Wolf and Assani Lukimya both left Adam Hlousek's cross to each other, they might have taken an early lead with Kiyotake lurking.
The Japanese international was then involved in the first of two emblematic moments of fair play in the game, informing the referee that he had touched the ball last and thus depriving his side of a corner. Late in the second half, Aaron Hunt returned the favour in an even more serious situation, telling the referee he had tripped on the turf rather than been felled inside the penalty area. There was applause all round as the referee again revised his decision.
Di Santo breaks deadlock
By that time, Bremen had already established a two-goal lead, and gone close to a third. Di Santo rattled the crossbar midway through the first half before swiveling and shooting wide as Nürnberg failed to clear their lines. The next time the woodwork was struck, from Hunt's effort, the rebound was more favourable to the Argentinean as he volleyed Werder in front.
Raphael Schäfer had no chance then, and he had no chance of continuing in the second half as an injury he picked up early on forced the Nürnberg goalkeeper to be substituted and hand Patrick Rakovsky his first appearance in 16 months. With the home side a goal down, however, they were dominating the proceedings, launching several attacks on the Bremen goal in search of an equliser.
Robert Mak led their charge with some enterprising play, but it was Campana who came closest to levelling when his shot fizzed through, stinging the left arm of Wolf, who managed to palm the curling ball away from goal. Werder coach Dutt sent Cedrick Makiadi on for attacker Nils Petersen as Bremen consolidated their midfield to preserve their lead.
Nürnberg were committed to attack, but they were again punished for their adventurous efforts late on. Javier Pinola stood off Bargfrede as he scampered through the midfield, and his shot clipped the heel of the Nürnberg defender, taking the ball unstoppably past Rakovsky. Hunt's fair play gesture followed before another shot against the woodwork by Nürnberg, this one coming from Hlousek, as Werder recorded their second win in a row.
Line-ups and statistics