Frankfurt were held at home by Nürnberg in the first leg of their play-off.
Frankfurt were held at home by Nürnberg in the first leg of their play-off.

Nürnberg with precious away goal after draw in Frankfurt


Bundesliga 2 side 1. FC Nürnberg will take a precious away goal into the second leg of their relegation play-off with Eintracht Frankfurt after a hard-fought 1-1 draw at the Commerzbank Arena on Thursday night.

Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 1. FC Nürnberg

Goals: 0-1 Russ o.g. (43’), 1-1 Gacinovic (65’)

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Back on home turf after a demoralising defeat at SV Werder Bremen last weekend, Frankfurt began the better of the two sides. The Eagles were confident early on, with Stefan Aigner warming Raphael Schäfer’s palms in the Nürnberg goal after only seven minutes. The hosts remained on top as the half progressed, although struggled to carve out any real chances in the face of an impressive visiting rearguard, with only Haris Seferovic’s miscued shot past the post causing Nürnberg any alarm. Frankfurt were punished for not making the most of their early dominance when the visitors went ahead against the run of play, Marco Russ miscuing Sebastian Kerk’s wicked free-kick into his own net two minutes before the break.

Frankfurt struggled to respond to the opening goal, and Nürnberg would have gone further ahead soon after the interval had Niclas Füllkrug’s final pass found his strike partner Guido Burgstaller after a rapid break. So impressive until the hour mark, the visitors’ organised defence was finally breached when Mijat Gacinovic danced through several challenges and poked past Schäfer from close-range to level proceedings in the 65th minute. The Eagles upped the ante after drawing level, with former Nürnberg player Timothy Chandler drawing a good save from Schäfer in the 76th minute, before the veteran custodian was again called into action to deny Gacinovic seconds later. Frankfurt ended in the ascendancy, but failed to find another way past the Nürnberg defence, leaving the tie perfectly poised ahead of Monday’s second leg.