Either 1. FC Nürnberg or Eintracht Frankfurt will be playing in the Bundesliga next season. - © © imago
Either 1. FC Nürnberg or Eintracht Frankfurt will be playing in the Bundesliga next season. - © © imago

Bundesliga or bust for Frankfurt and Nürnberg in relegation play-offs

Eintracht Frankfurt have one final chance to salvage their top-flight status in Monday's relegation play-off second leg away to Bundesliga 2 outfit 1. FC Nürnberg (kick-off: 20:30CEST/18:30GMT).

'Confident we can win in Nuremberg'

The tie is finely poised at 1-1 on aggregate, but Nürnberg hold a slight advantage after registering a potentially priceless away goal at Frankfurt's Commerzbank Arena three days ago.

"I'm definitely not thinking of relegation," insisted Eintracht head coach Niko Kovac prior to the game. "We've proved that we can hold our own in difficult situations. I'm confident we can win away in Nuremberg. We'll be right back in it with a goal."

To that end, Kovac may opt to hand last season's Bundesliga top goalscorer Alexander Meier only a second start since Matchday 23 following injury. Peru international defender Carlos Zambrano is also pushing for a place in the side, with Marco Russ - who scored an own goal in the first leg, just one day after being diagnosed with a tumour - ruled out through suspension.

"He should get himself rested for his operation," Kovac said of the Eagles' club captain. "The most important thing is that the lad gets back to full fitness as quickly as possible."

'You can't play for a 0-0 draw'

Nürnberg, for their part, go into the contest without any concerns in the personnel department and are expected to set up largely as they did in Frankfurt. "We might tweak things here or there," revealed FCN head coach Rene Weiler. "There certainly won't be more than one or two changes, though."

A goalless draw would be sufficient to seal the Franconian club's return to the Bundesliga following their relegation in 2013/14, but Weiler has been around the block long enough to know that parking the bus is simply far too big a risk to take.

"You can't play for a 0-0 draw," he explained. "Frankfurt will definitely attack as they have tended to do away from home all season. We're in a good position, but the second leg is completely open. It's a final."

Match stats

    Nürnberg goalkeeper Raphael Schäfer has kept clean sheets in his previous two play-off home legs (2009 and 2010).Frankfurt have won their last two matches at Nürnberg's Grundig Stadion.Nürnberg lost only one of their 17 home matches during the regular Bundesliga 2 season.Frankfurt's away form was the worst in the Bundesliga in 2015/16 (W3, D3, L11).

Possible line-ups

Nürnberg: Schäfer - Brecko, Hovland, Bulthuis, Sepsi - Gislason, Petrak, Möhwald, Leibold - Füllkrug, Blum

Coach: Rene Weiler

Frankfurt: Hradecky - Regäsel, Abraham, Zambrano, Oczipka - Hasebe, Ignjovski - Aigner, Ben-Hatira, Djakpa - Meier

Coach: Niko Kovac