After Michael Wiesinger guided der Club to a comfortable mid-table finish last term, Nürnberg were not on many people's relegation radar last summer, yet for the eighth time in the club's history, that is precisely what the Franconians had to digest at the end of a hugely disappointing campaign. bundesliga.com takes a closer look…
There was no shortage of tears when Nürnberg's fate was sealed by a 4-1 defeat at FC Schalke 04. That final-day disappointment was symptomatic of a year in which it simply took them too long to get going, and when they finally did, they were unable to sustain any kind of momentum. With three different coaches in charge over the course of the campaign, Nürnberg failed to strike the right blend on and off the field, and after going the entire first season-half without winning a single game, it was always going to be an uphill struggle. Overly reliant on Josip Drmic's ability to find the back of the net, they ultimately had too much ground to make up and weren't helped by the fact they hit the woodwork an extraordinary 23 times.
Seventeen of Nürnberg's 37 goals this season came from Swiss international , which raises the question of how the club would have fared without the 21-year-old striker. As devastating in the area as much as he was outside it, Drmic single-handedly led the Franconians' attack, helping them out of sticky situations on several occasions and weighing in with some crucial goals.
Nürnberg could have scored an additional 23 goals this season, had the goalposts been just a few inches wider apart. That was one new league record they could have done without, although they could not be too critical about their misfortune – at the other end of the pitch, der Club were saved by the post and crossbar on 21 occasions.
Despite his team's precarious position near the foot of the table, Gertjan Verbeek, who was in charge of the club at the time, was undeterred by the prospect of facing runaway league leaders FC Bayern München at the Grundig Stadion. "Bayern's players also have to go to the toilet, and the same thing comes out of them as out of us," said the Dutchman in his typical deadpan manner.
It was such a long time in coming that Nürnberg's first victory of the season was undoubtedly its highlight as well. After becoming the first side ever to go through an entire Hinrunde without a win, the Franconians emerged from the winter break to pick up their first maximum haul - against 1899 Hoffenheim - thanks in part to a Drmic brace. Gertjan Verbeek was allowed to shave again as a result, and his charges followed up on their success against die Kraichgauer with a first away win at Hertha Berlin.