The Frankenderby is the oldest and most historical of clashes in German football, and many heroes have emerged from the previous 267 meetings between SpVgg Greuther Fürth (or SpVgg Fürth if you prefer) and 1. FC Nürnberg.
These heroes are often unlikely ones, such as David Raum, the Nuremberg-born boy, who came from the bench to grab all three points for Fürth last season.
For 15 minutes before the end, another one seemed to have emerged, only this time for Der Club. 19-year-old striker Erik Shuranov was a surprise starter, having made only five previous appearances from the bench. And with the score at 1-1, he was in the right place for a tough finish in a crowded penalty point to set his team up for the win.
Fürth had taken the lead early on, despite a positive start from their guests, yet Nürnberg had kept their heads and a fabulous strike from Enrico Valentini – albeit off the backside of the aforementioned Raum – had brought them level. They were now on course for a first derby win in three and a half years.
It was not to be. Deep into stoppage time, two Kleeblatt substitutes stole a dramatic point. Luca Itter, having replaced Raum, saw his cross find the head of Dickson Abiama. Derby saved.
Abiama is an even more unlikely a derby hero as Shuranov would have been. Born in Nigeria, the now 22-year-old moved to Germany in 2016. He was spotted playing in a park by a team called SpVgg Mögeldorf 2000, but by the summer of 2019 he had signed by fifth-tier SC Eltersdorf, where he caught the attention of Stefan Leitl and his future employers in a friendly.
A deal to make him a Fürth player was made by the following winter, allowing him to go on a winter training camp with the 2. Bundesliga side before resuming a 17-goal season with Eltersdorf – which might have been more if the season hadn’t ended abruptly due to COVID.
Since arriving at Fürth in the summer, he has been eased in gently by Leitl. He has only started three games but has begun to emerge as a more than credible back-up option to star men Branimir Hrgota and Håvard Nielsen in attack.
With a goal against Sandhausen in the autumn, he became the 200th man to score a 2. Bundesliga goal for Fürth, but that was a third in a 3-0 win. His fifth for the club to earn a point against his side’s biggest rivals will probably live longer in the memory.
“I’m personally happy that he rewarded himself with the goal,” were the comments of Leitl after the game, but no doubt he will also be thankful that Abiama’s goal kept up their better record against Nürnberg since Der Club dropped back down from the Bundesliga.
The goal helps their own pursuit of the promised land as well, taking them back up to second in the table. If they make it to the Bundesliga, Abiama would have risen from the fifth tier to the top in barely more than a year – and for a young man who holds ambitions of playing for Nigeria one way, the sky is the limit.
▪ Whilst Fürth continue to look upwards, Nürnberg keep nervously looking behind their shoulders. Luckily for them, none of the sides below them won this weekend. The team immediately below them, Eintracht Braunschweig, did keep the pace with a draw against SV Darmstadt 98, but it could have been even better. The Lilies gave away two first half penalties after going ahead but Nick Proschwitz could only convert the first, with the second kept out by Marcel Schuhen. Osnabrück and Sandhausen both lost though, so Daniel Meyer’s team have edged their way to three points clear of the bottom three.
▪ Aaron Hunt seems at times like a peripheral figure at Hamburger SV these days, but he put in one of his best performances of the season and was involved in both of Tim Leibold’s goals in their win against 1. FC Heidenheim – taking them back top until Monday night at least. Any suggestion that Hunt, one of the few remaining members from the side relegated three years ago, may be coming to the end of his time at the club seem premature, with sporting director Michael Mutzel confirming there had been talk over extended his deal beyond the end of the season.
▪ All the drama came late on in Paderborn on Friday night. SC Paderborn 07 had been 2-1 up against Karlsruher SC, and it looked set to stay that way when Leopold Zingerle saved Philipp Hofmann’s penalty. It all went wrong from there, however, as Jamilu Collins saw a second yellow card for what the referee saw as time wasting on a throw in. Neither he, nor his teammates or coach were happy – Steffan Baumgart calling the decision “sad for the whole spot.” And right at the death, their former striker Babacar Gueye stung them to deny the hosts all three points.
▪ Stefan Kuntz has named six 2. Bundesliga-based players in his squad for the first phase of the UEFA European U21 Championship which starts this week. Josha Vagnoman, Stephan Ambrosius (both Hamburg), David Raum, Anton Stach (both Fürth), Maxim Leitsch (Bochum) and Florian Krüger (Aue) have all made the 23-man squad, with several members of the league’s alumni, such as Niklas Dorsch and Vitaly Janelt, there as well. Osnabrück’s Ludovit Reis (Netherlands) and Sandhausen’s Niklas Narey (Denmark) will also be at the tournament which starts on Wednesday.
Holstein Kiel P-P Hannover 96
SC Paderborn 07 2-2 Karlsruher SC
FC Erzgebirge Aue 2-0 SV Sandhausen
Eintracht Braunschweig 1-1 SV Darmstadt 98
Hamburger SV 2-0 1. FC Heidenheim
SpVgg Greuther Fürth 2-2 1. FC Nürnberg
VfL Osnabrück 1-2 FC St. Pauli
Würzburger Kickers 1-1 SSV Jahn Regensburg
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs VfL Bochum (Monday)