1. FC Nürnberg took a big step towards secured their 2. Bundesliga survival on Tuesday evening as they beat a disappointing FC Ingolstadt 04, the 2-0 scoreline barely doing justice to the dominance of the performance.
Now they need to finish the job and avoid letting Ingolstadt back in the tie. Die Schanzer knows their chance are slim, but Tomas Oral is still hoping for a “miracle.”
Nürnberg look to avoid complacency
The first leg couldn’t have gone much better for temporary coach Michael Wiesinger – although a couple of extra goals wouldn’t have flattered them. The side looked completely re-energised, and an unlikely hero emerged. Fabian Nürnberger, playing on the left of midfield instead of in the middle, scored both goals, his first in professional football.
“It was a good time to score two goals,” he admitted after the game. He also gave an insight into how the new coaches – Wiesinger and Marek Mintel – had made a positive impact on the team. “They made us extremely ready. The speeches before the game were extremely effective,” Nürnberger revealed. “The short training camp also helped us a lot. The training units were very intensive but very good. The environment also gave us a boost.”
Wiesinger – very much the public face of the interim set-up – spoke on Friday about how his side couldn’t underestimate Ingolstadt despite the performance earlier in the week. “Ingolstadt has nothing left to lose,” he said, “so we are prepared for it to be intense, especially in the initial phase. “It will be an absolute fight tomorrow, that’s for sure.”
Ingolstadt have never beaten Nürnberg at the Audi-Sportpark – in fact the relatively young club have only beaten Der Club just once – and their attack rarely threatened Nürnberg’s organised defence in the first leg. Nevertheless, there will be no complacency. “Nobody walks in here and believes that something will be given to us,” insists Wiesinger.
They will likely name the same 20 players for the second leg with no injuries coming out of the first game, with the same XI more than a possibility. Several players were a booking away from a suspension but managed to avoid seeing yellow. Sebastian Kerk and Felix Lohkemper subsequently are not expected to return to the squad.
Nürnberg in control
The 2-0 lead, without conceding an away goal, from the first leg gives Wiesinger’s side a big advantage. Scoring just one goal would leave Ingolstadt needing four.
Even a 1-0 or 2-1 (etc.) defeat would still see them secure survival, whist even a 3-1 defeat would see them through on away goals.
A 2-0 win for Ingolstadt is the only result that can send the game into extra time. To go through in 90 minutes, Ingolstadt will have to win by a three-goal margin.
Oral humble but still playing mind games
This will be Ingolstadt’s 13th game in 43 days after an intense end to the 3. Liga season with two games a week throughout. By contract, it will be Nürnberg’s 11th in 56 days. It’s fair to suggest that tiredness or fatigue were a factor in Ingolstadt’s poor showing in the first leg.
Coach Tomas Oral did not want to use that as an excuse though. “We have had brutal weeks, but we have never complained and will not do that now,” he stressed. Nevertheless, he knows his side have it all to do. Nürnberg have a “huge advantage” but he says they will “try to fight our way into the game with all our might. But if we’re honest with ourselves,” he added, “we only have a small chance.”
Even if a win would, from Oral’s point of view, “would be a miracle,” he has still tried to psych out the opposition though, from claiming they had been watching Nürnberg train and knew about the plan with Nürnberger, to indirectly referencing supervisory board chairman Thomas Grethlein after he went viral for smoking a big cigar during the game.
“The club has been chasing expectations all season. You have had terrible problems internally,” he said. “You could also see on the grandstand how the responsible parties presented themselves that the club naturally had completely different objectives.”
Maximilian Beister has been ruled out after coming off in the first leg with a thigh injury, however there is better news regarding Stefan Kutschke. He has trained again after his own thigh problems although there is no guarantee he will return, unlikely for the first leg, when he missed out despite Oral saying he was fit. Filip Bilbija appears to be the favourite to come in, although the more defensive Frederic Ananou could start having replaced Beister in the first leg.
Date: Saturday 11th July 2020.
Kick-Off: 18:15 CEST, 17:15 BST, 12:15 EDT.
Watch / Live Stream: ZDF (Germany and Austria), DAZN, Amazon Prime (Germany), Bet365 (United Kingdom), Fox Soccer Match Pass (USA).
Nürnberg may not start as electrically as they did on Tuesday but I would still expect them to get an away goal to kill off the tie, although the game itself could end as a draw.