Tranquillo Barnetta got the ball rolling in the 20th minute, before Joselu and Alexander Madlung struck shortly after half time. Goals from Josip Drmic and Jose Campana reduced the arrears, but with Javier Pinola receiving his marching orders and Joselu and Vaclav Kadlec adding to the scoreline, Nürnberg couldn’t spare themselves an 11th defeat of the season.
Following a run of three games without a win, Nürnberg head coach Gertjan Verbeek opted to ring the changes to his starting line-up in a bid to spark his side into life. The hosts looked more resilient at the back as a result, but with the implications of the encounter weighing heavily, both sides adopted a risk-averse approach in the opening exchanges with goalscoring chances were few and far between.
Raphael Schäfer was the first to be called into action, making a sharp save from Barnetta’s free-kick before Tomas Pekhart marched down the other end and rifled into the side netting. However, the game turned when Ondrej Petrak was forced off with 20 minutes gone due to a suspected concussion. The visitors duly capitalised on the momentary man advantage as Stefan Aigner burst to the by-line, squaring for Barnetta to open the scoring from six yards out.
The opening goal did little to alter the sides’ caution, but lacking the discipline and structure of the visitors, Nürnberg struggled to make an impact in the final third as Campana blazed off target from 25 yards. With the impetus on their side, it was Frankfurt who continued to produce the more proficient football, with Schäfer doing well to deny Barnetta a brace and ensure the hosts went in at the break just one goal behind.
Verbeek undoubtedly had some strong words for his side in the changing room, yet there was little change from the hosts as they fell further behind less than five minutes after the restart. Nürnberg’s backline pushed forward prematurely after clearing their lines, only for Martin Lanig to win an aerial battle and release Aigner, who unselfishly squared for the unmarked Joselu to clip into the yawning net.
Things then went from bad to worse for the hosts two minutes later when Madlung volleyed home on the rebound after Schäfer had denied Lanig’s close-range header. However, it seemed to take a three-goal deficit to spark der Club from their slumber as they raised their pressing game to new levels.
Finding a pocket of space on the halfway line, Campana’s pin-point long-ball released Drmic, whose first touch was only bettered by his finish as he leathered the ball into the top corner. With a sliver of hope restored, Nürnberg pushed forward and grabbed a second with Campana drilling an effort into the bottom corner from 25 yards. However, Pinola’s late red for a last-man challenge promptly took the wind out of the hosts’ sails, allowing Joselu to wrap up all three points in the 88th minute, before Kadlec capped off the win with the cheekiest of finishes.
Line-ups and statistics
Although it wasn't enough to help Nürnberg against Frankfurt, scored a great goal that made it into Matchday 26's Top 5 Goals on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: