Both sides had failed to win since the restart but Stefan Leitl’s side ultimately came out of the Frankenderby as deserved winners, with Nürnberg’s attack incredibly weak once again.
Jens Keller’s side remain 15th and results elsewhere mean they are now only two points clear of the bottom three.
Raum the derby hero
The Frankenderby is one of the most storied derbies in German football, and a perfect example of that is the fact that this game came 100 years to the day that Nürnberg beat Fürth in the German championship final in 1920. The stakes here were different, but the game was no less important, especially for the hosts, who are standing on the brink of an unthinkable relegation to the madhouse of the 3. Liga.
Keller made one change from their credible goalless draw with leaders Arminia Bielefeld last weekend, with Enrico Valentini returning to the team in place of Oliver Sorg. His counterpart Leitl made four changes after his side played Dynamo Dresden in the week. Marco Caligiuri and Mergim Mavraj returned to the line-up, as did Julian Green and, surprisingly, Kenny Prince Redondo.
The latter was rarely impressed for Fürth since joining from 1. FC Union Berlin 18 months ago, and played to par here as well. Leitl brought on Raum for him after half-time, a move that would pay dividends ten minutes into the half, as he connected with a Green cross to etch his name into derby folklore.
The 22-year-old can look forward to more days like this as the anointed successor to Maximilian Wittek, who leaves in the summer. Whether there’ll be a derby next year is questionable though – Keller’s side showed a complete lack of ideas in attack, with his changes in the second half only making things worse.
Hack closest for misfiring Club
The game, understandably, lacked the intensity that would normally be expected due to the lack of speectatos – it was described as ‘Derby lite’ by the German commentator. It would be light of goals in the first half as well, if not for the lack of trying.
Chance conversion has been a problem for Nürnberg this season and they were unable to make the most of their opportunities in the opening stages of the match. The best all came the way of Robin Hack. After striking wide and having a header saved by Sascha Burchert, he very nearly broke the deadlock with a superb strike on the bounce, however Burchert could not be thwarted and put the ball over.
Fürth were far from passive though, and as the half progressed they became clearly the better side. Paul Seguin’s free-kick was not far over, although Christian Mathenia probably had it cover, whilst Green couldn’t find a gap to place his shot in after being found by Branimir Hrgota. Later on, Daniel Keita-Ruel headed wide from a Green corner.
The Kleeblatt looked to be in control, even if they weren’t able to most of it, whilst Nürnberg’s play what was a loss let joined up. They found that their opponents were quick to get men back, and their attacks fizzled out to nothing. Mavraj and Caligiuri were very strong on their returns as well.
Weak response to Raum goal
Nürnberg made a fresh attempt to find the first goal after the break, with Valentini and Mikael Ishak both going wide. Fürth remained very dangerous, with Sebastian Ernst hitting the post before his side would take the lead. A great ball from deep found Marco Meyerhöfer, who passed to Green, and he located Raum who beat Mathenia at the far post.
Keller responded by bringing on both Michael Frey and Adam Zreľák, with Felix Lohkemper and Sebastian Kerk coming on later to provide further attacking reinforcements, but they simply lacked any trace of quality. Left-back Tim Handwerker was probably more dangerous, but even he fluffed his lines when looking for a cross in the box.
Leitl was perfectly happy with how things were going, and in fact quickly responded to the goal by bringing on the more-defensive Paul Jaeckel for Green (who was on a yellow card). They may have not troubled Mathenia anymore, but the door at the other end looked locked shut.
It wasn’t until the very last seconds that Nürnberg came close to equalising. Zreľák found Lohkemper from out wide, and his header was put over by Burchert, who also held on to a Hanno Behrens header from the resulting corner. The home players were crestfallen at the end, and Keller kicked the ground in frustration as he walked off. And ahead of a crucial game in midweek, his mood will not have been improved by results elsewhere.
Nürnberg: Mathenia; Valentini (Sorg 77‘), Mavropanos, Margreitter, Handwerker; Erras, Behrens; Schleusener (Lohkemper 72‘), Hack (Kerk 77‘), Heise (Zreľák 60‘); Ishak (Frey 60‘).
Fürth: Burchert; Meyerhöfer, Mavraj, Caligiuri, Wittek; Seguin, Green (Jaeckel 62‘); Hrgota (Leweling 88‘), Ernst (Nielsen 72‘), Redondo (Raum HT); Keita-Ruel.
Goals: Raum (56‘).
Referee: Tobias Reichel.
Elsewhere on Saturday
That is because SV Wehen Wiesbaden picked up an important win against Holstein Kiel to move into 16th place and thus just two points from safety. Hauke Wahl had given the Storks the lead however Jeremias Lorch equalised before the break. Stefan Aigner scored the winner in the second half.
Elsewhere, 1. FC Heidenheim kept up their promotion chase with a 4-1 win over SSV Jahn Regensburg. Tim Kleindienst scored a brace after Robert Leipertz opened the scoring in just the second minute. Stefan Schimmer again came off the bench to score the fourth, with Aaron Seydel having scored a consolation for Regensburg.
VfL Bochum remain the form team since the restart with a 2-0 win over VfL Osnabrück, who will also have been concerned by Wiesbaden’s win. A Lukas Gugganig own goal and a strike from Manuel Wintzheimer won the game for Bochum, with Manuel Riemann saving an Anas Ouahim penalty late on.