“It feels nice to be rewarded [with three points], especially after the many setbacks in recent weeks,” 1. FC Nürnberg interim head coach Boris Schommers at the final whistle after his team had just put three goals past local rivals FC Ausgburg, earning their first Bundesliga win since September and just their third win all campaign.
From the off, Nürnberg played with a specific game plan, to get stuck into their opponents and to be aggressive. This was evident from the off with Robert Bauer and Augsburg’s Ji Dong-Won needing to be separated midway in the first half, both picking up a yellow card. The hosts had the better chances in the opening 45 minutes but were unable to capitalise, but whatever Schommers said at half time, it worked.
Strong and robust – and their best player on the afternoon – Mikael Ishak took just seven minutes to fire Nürnberg into the lead, much to the delight of the loyal fans that follow their club every week despite starting the weekend bottom. Augsburg pushed for an equaliser with captain Daniel Baier testing Mathenia from 25 yards on the hour mark while Michael Gregoritsch – who returned to the squad after being out with flu – had put the ball in the back of the net, which was ultimately ruled out, no VAR needed, thankfully.
As Manuel Baum’s Augsburg pushed bodies forward, this left plenty of space for Ishak to hold up the ball, allowing runners from midfield to take up the space. This was evident with two goals in two minutes in the closing stages with Matheus Pereira and Eduard Löwen both getting on the scoresheet.
FC Nürnberg’s third win of the season really was a momentous occasion. It’s put the club within touch of that relegation play-off, which gives them a slim chance of staying in the Bundesliga. The interim appointment of Schommers – who was raised in Leverkusen and coached at FC Köln for much of his career – has installed faith back into this side. FCN are doing the basics right, something they hadn’t been doing under Michael Köllner.
Nürnberg are no longer a team that is being brushed aside by teams close to them while the installation of Schommers has somewhat steadied a sinking ship, losing just 1-0 to Champions League chasing Eintracht Frankfurt the prior weekend. So much so, it’s given fans a sense of hope and opportunity, backed up by the young child on the microphone in the build-up who predicted a 3-0 win for Nürnberg on Saturday, which was met by a nervous laughter from the home support. Oh, how he’s probably on cloud nine right now.
Nürnberg’s win on Saturday was even so great that I noticed a local journalist with tears in his eyes after going 2-0 up, that just goes to show what this club means to the locals. The boisterous atmosphere continued into the night and the early hours of the morning in the city’s Altstadt with a keen eye looking at next weekend’s trip to Stuttgart, who remain just four points above FCN.