Manuel Veth –
Nürnberg vs Bayern – Sunday, April 28, 17:00BST/18:00CEST – Max-Morlock-Stadion, Nürnberg, Germany
It is a proper Bavarian derby that will take place on Saturday at the Max-Morlock-Stadion in Nuremberg. Historically it is also a duel between two of Germany’s most successful clubs. Although the last Meisterschaft dates back to 1968 Der Glubb as Nürnberg are called in Franconia are the team with the second most championships in Germany (nine) behind Bayern München.
Nürnberg, however, also can turn their greatest triumphs into tragedy. Following their last championship in 1968 the Club was relegated in 1969. Nürnberg managed to repeat that feat when they won the DFB Pokal in 2007 and were then relegated in 2008. “The Club is an idiot,” has, as a result, become a common saying in Franconia.
This season Nürnberg have not been at all idiotic but simply been outweighed by market forces. Although based in Bavaria’s second largest city, Nürnberg have struggled economically and were unable to put together a team that could compete in the Bundesliga. As a result, Nürnberg have been fighting relegation all season, and it is only thanks to the weak opposition in the relegation battle that the Club still has a fighting chance with four games to go.
On Sunday the task will be extremely difficult against a Bayern side looking to win their seventh title in a row. The plan for the derby is simple, to stay compact in defence and overwhelm the ball carrying player in great numbers. “The number one task is to keep a clean sheet,” captain Hanno Behrens explained this week. “We need a perfect day,” Behrens added.
Bayern, in the meantime, have learned the hard way what it means to underestimate an opponent. “I’m not a man who underestimates any opponent. Dortmund, Leverkusen and Schalke had problems in Nürnberg. We will see. It will certainly not be an easy game, and I have to wait and see who is 100% fit,” Niko Kovac said on Friday.
“The Bundesliga doesn’t forgive mistakes no matter who you are facing. We made the mistake of thinking it was over after 2-0 on Wednesday, but they got back in the game. We made many minor mistakes,” Kovac added. Bayern have had too many bad experiences against the likes of Freiburg and Fortuna Düsseldorf to underestimate Nürnberg, even if the Franconians have collected 18 points from 30 games.
Hence, Kovac has been reluctant to rotate the squad. After all, Bayern might need four wins out of the last four games to secure the title and can not rely on Schalke to take points of Dortmund on Saturday.
Nürnberg vs Bayern – Players to look out for:
Matheus Pereira #27 – 1.FC Nürnberg
On loan from Sporting Lisbon Matheus Pereira has been one of the few positives this season. The Brazilian right winger, who also holds a Portuguese passport, has scored two goals and two assists in 17 games for Nürnberg this season. In fact, Nürnberg would like to renew the loan deal with Sporting even if the Club should be relegated to Bundesliga 2. The 22-year-old, who has a €60 million exit-clause at Sporting, could certainly benefit from playing another season in Nürnberg, even if it is in the second division.
Thomas Müller #25 – Bayern München
Thomas Müller has been excellent since he has been made redundant by Bundestrainer Joachim Löw. In fact, Müller’s resurgence was on a great display against Werder Bremen on Wednesday where the attacking midfielder was the man of the match. Müller has now collected two goals, and four assists in the last seven Bundesliga games and his excellent form could now mean that Bayern might opt out on signing James Rodríguez to a permanent deal.
Nürnberg vs Bayern – Match Stats
- Bayern have won the last 17 games on the road against promoted teams.
- Bayern have the best attack in the league with 79 goals, Nürnberg with 24 the weakest. Robert Lewandowski has scored 21 goals this season, just three goals less than Nürnberg’s entire squad together.
- Nürnberg’s home record against Bayern: W8 D8 L14.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Nürnberg vs Bayern – 1-2
Nürnberg vs Bayern – Lineups
Mathenia – Bauer, Mühl, Ewerton, Leibold – Löwen, Erras, Behrens – Matheus Pereira, Ishak, Kerk
Head Coach: Boris Schommers
Ulreich – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Thiago, Javi Martínez – Gnabry, Müller, Coman – Lewandowski
Head Coach: Niko Kovac
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.