Friend or foe? Nürnberg's Hiroshi Kiyotake (l.) faces Japan international colleague Takashi Inui's (r.) Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday
Friend or foe? Nürnberg's Hiroshi Kiyotake (l.) faces Japan international colleague Takashi Inui's (r.) Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday

Must-win showdown between Nürnberg and Frankfurt

Nuremberg - Eintracht Frankfurt take on 1. FC Nürnberg in what can only be described as another relegation six-pointer on Sunday (kick-off 14:30 GMT/ 15:30 CET).

'It'll be a close one'

The Eagles came up short against lowly SC Freiburg last time out and travel to Middle Franconia just three points better off than Gertjan Verbeek's third-from-bottom hosts.

"The bottom line is that Nürnberg are in exactly the same position as we are," explained Eintracht head coach Armin Veh. "They're down there at the bottom as well, so there's a lot riding on the game. I've got no doubt that both sides will approach the match in the right way. There's not much between us, so I expect it'll be a close one."

Having lost their last two relegation scraps to Hamburger SV and Freiburg, Eintracht go into the game knowing a third defeat on the spin could have a major bearing on their battle to beat the drop, with five of the Eagles' remaining eight Bundesliga fixtures coming against sides fighting for a place in Europe.

'We'll fight'

Nürnberg's position is no less precarious, meanwhile, after three successive defeats - coupled with Freiburg's 3-1 win over SV Werder Bremen - plunged Verbeek's men back into the relegation zone for the first time in over a month. Indeed, unless they avoid defeat on Sunday, that is where der Club will remain for the next few days at least.

"We will fight for survival with courage, passion and emotion," affirmed Nürnberg's head coach. "Our focus is on the game, but every emotion associated with the game has a role to play. We still have a couple of training sessions left to go, so anything is possible. There will be no new faces in the 18-man squad, but maybe the starting eleven will look different to last week."

Injured parties

Verbeek's mastery of squad rotation could ultimately prove the difference between outright relegation and survival, with must-win encounters against fellow strugglers VfB Stuttgart and Freiburg lurking ominously on the horizon for a Nürnberg side that have recorded as few a wins (four) all season as rock-bottom Eintracht Braunschweig.

The Dutchman will definitely be without long-term absentees Makoto Hasebe, Per Nilsson, Daniel Ginczek, Timothy Chandler and Timo Gebhart on Matchday 26, while Robert Mak is a major doubt after straining adductor muscles. Veh, meanwhile, is likely to have to do without his top scorer for the clash at the Grundig Stadion: "Alex Meier will probably miss out," said the 53-year-old. "But apart from Tobias Weis and Sebastian Rode, everyone should be available."

Possible line-ups:

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

Frankfurt: Trapp - S. Jung, Zambrano, Russ, Oczipka - Schwegler, Flum - Aigner, Rosenthal, Inui - Joselu

Click here to find your local broadcaster for this match.

Check out some of Nürnberg goalkeeper Raphael Schäfer's Matchday 25 heroics against Hamburg on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: