The headliner of the 25th round is, obviously, the 264th Franken derby. Despite almost freezing temperatures outside, the atmosphere inside the sold out Max Morlock stadium will reach boiling point.
FC Nürnberg is still plagued with important missings, most painful being Valentini’s. Because there is no proper replacement, veteran Brecko enjoying only some short spells, all-rounder Eduard Löwen could play on this position, as his medical problems from the beginning of the week seem to be gone. Again, the question regarding the 3/5 or 4 defensive line rises. Probably Michael Köllner will choose the same system, 4-1-4-1, which becomes 3-4-3 when attacking, with the wingers pushing higher up, or cutting inside. As they are still missing a target man in attack, we’ll probably see a patient possession oriented game, waiting for the opponent’s mistakes. With the two dynamic box-to-box players, Möhwald and Behrens, Nürnberg will try to make the difference, with unexpected appearances in the last third. Lone striker’s Palacios main task will probably be to create space in the lately solid Fürth defense, for the forward runs.
Fürth plays in a similar 4-1-4-1 system, but with more defensive wingers, offering support to the full backs. This way they should decrease the horror record of allowed scoring chances – 8.7 opportunities per away match, with one goal conceded each 4.3 chances. The offensive hopes mainly rely on quick counters, as they have suitable players for this. Green keeps an advanced position even when playing against the ball, to be the first option to pass to when starting the counter attack, and often moves on the left flank to create superiority. This might succeed in creating danger, considering Nürnberg’s important missing on this side. Reese also roams to the left, trying to vacate space for Narey to appear in a finishing position. The main problem shown by Fürth is that its defense tends to crack under pressure. Last round, when Braunschweig increased their aggressiveness, Fürth conceded after only a few minutes under constant pressure. The Club is a team who practices high pressure football, is patient and hits when it smells blood, but it could also be vulnerable to counter attacks.
Will Nürnberg win both matches in the season against their rival for the first time in 40 years, or will Fürth spoil the top runner’s series of 11 matches without a defeat?
FC Nürnberg: Lippert, Kerk, Ishak (injured), Valentini (suspended)
SpVgg Greuther Fürth: Sararer, Bolly, Omladic, Magyar (injured), Bech (questionable)
Possible lineups and shapes: