After Borussia Dortmund slipped up, Bayern Munich had a chance to get one hand on the Bundesliga title but struggling Nuremberg wouldn’t roll over. After a cagey first half, both teams had big chances to win it late on.
Bayern Munich extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga by one point after an enthralling tussle with regional rivals Nuremberg, who missed a stoppage time penalty in a dramatic Franconian-Bavarian derby.
Serge Gnabry equalized for the reigning champions 15 minutes from time in fortuitous fashion after Matheus Pereira had given “The Club” an early second-half lead.
After Tim Leibold saw his penalty come back off the post, Kingsley Coman had the chance to win it for Bayern in the final minute of injury time but Nuremberg goalkeeper Christian Mathenia stood tall when one-on-one.
The dramatic draw means that Borussia Dortmund, whose coach Lucien Favre effectively conceded the title after his team’s collapse against Schalke in Saturday’s Revierderby, are still in the title race – just.
After Dortmund’s derby defeat, Bayern had the chance to go four points clear with three games remaining and strike a decisive blow in the title race. But they struggled to break down a well-organized Nuremberg side who were looking to do what the rest of the bottom four had already done this weekend and pick up points.
David Alaba hit the crossbar from a free-kick midway through the first half while, at the other end, stand-in goalkeeper Sven Ulreich almost gifted Nuremberg the lead when failing to deal with a back-pass with Eduard Löwen lurking.
Dramatic second half
After the start to the second half was delayed due to pyrotechnics in the away end, it was Nuremberg who seemed to benefit most from the extra two minutes rest, Pereira curling the ball into the bottom corner after Ulreich had saved from Löwen. Bayern coach Niko Kovac was furious at the freshly introduced Gnabry, who had failed to track back.
Bayern struck the woodwork for the second time when James Rodriguez’s free-kick also came back off the bar five minutes before Gnabry drew his team level. Robert Bauer was first to Coman’s cross but his clearance ricocheted off Gnabry’s cleverly-positioned leg and looped over Mathenia.
Leibold had the chance to give the Franconians a famous victory over the Bavarians when Alphonso Davies elbowed Georg Margreitter in the face but his effort came back off the foot of the post.
And then, from the brink of defeat to the brink of victory themselves, Coman missed an even later chance to win it for Bayern. Perhaps the Bundesliga title race is’t over yet, after all.
As it happened:
FULL TIME: That’s it. The referee ends a breathless second half. Both teams had brilliant chances to win it in injury time and neither took them. Bayern move two points clear, but have a far superior goal difference while Nuremberg are five points from safety. Our match report will be along here any minute.
90+5 – Chance! Incredible. Nuremberg commit men forward from a free kick and when it’s cleared, Coman has the whole field to run in to. No-one is catching him but he hesitates in the box and hits Mathenia, he should have wrapped it up there.
90+3 – There will be five added minutes. Nuremberg surely won’t have a better chance than that.
90+1′ – Woodwork! Leibold strikes his penalty low and against the foot of the post. Looking at the replays again. Davies does lead with the arm. Not that it matters now.
90′ – Davies is adjudged to have fouled Margreitter (I think, may have even been a handball).
90′ – Penalty to Nuremberg!
88′ – Kimmich lifts it to the back post where Süle gets a head on it, but it’s nowhere near. LAst sub for Nuremberg: Bauer off, Ilicevic on.
87′ – Coman is clipped just outside the penalty box, down the right hand side near the touchline.
84′ – Gnabry throws himself at Alaba’s cross but Leibold just beats him to it. One way traffic now.
82′ – Another change for the home side. Löwen trudges off to be replaced by Margreitter.
79′ – Goretzka tries to measure on through to Gnabry but Mathenia is out quickly. Bayern must scent blood now.
75′ – This is so fortunate. Coman’s deep cross from the right to the back post beats Bauer and drops to Gnabry but the angle is tight. He has a swing anyway and the ball strikes the substitute’s calf and loops slowly over Mathenia. Cruel.
75′ – Goal! Nuremberg 1 – 1 Bayern Munich (Gnabry)
72′ – Nuremberg bring on Tillman, on loan from Bayern for Ishak and James also walks down the tunnel, to be replaced by Davies. he doesn’t look injured. Very odd.
71′ – Another Bayern corner is scrambled away. The pressure, and tension, is growing.
69′ – Woodwork! Again Mathenia fingertips a Bayern freekick on to the bar, but this time it’s from James rather than Alaba. The corner eventually drops to Süle who lashes it over the bar.
69′ – Kimmich and Gnabry break and combine well down the right before Ewerthon brings the fullback down. Again, it’s in Alaba range.
67′ – Bayern’s latest attack breaks down at the feet of Kimmich in the area, he seemed to misread that one somehow.
65′ – Excellent last ditch block from Leibold to deny Lewandowski.
63′ – Now it’s James’ turn to send a simple pass out of play. Nuremberg won’t get a better chance to beat Bayern than this.
60′ – Chance! Finally a spell of fluency from Bayern and James and Gnabry, the substitutes, combine with the latter sending Goretzka through. But he’s too close to the keeper and can’t lift it over him.
59′ – Kingsley Coman blooters a simple cross in to the stands. This has been very, very poor from Bayern.
58′ – Nuremberg only have a German Twitter account. But even if you don’t speak Deutsch, you’ll understand the sentiment here.
57′ – And it’s Martinez who is replaced by the Colombian.
56′ – James Rodriguez is ready to come on as Martinez lumps a hopeful and useless ball in to the arms of the keeper.
55′ – Nuremberg are looking like the side at the top of the table right now, stroking it around comfortably at times. Kerk and Pereira are causing Bayern some real difficulties on the flanks.
52′ – Bayern are all over the shop. Nuremberg break and suddenly have two on two. Süle does brilliantly to force it behind for a corner.
50′ – The golascorer gets on the ball again, but his cross is blocked by Hummels. The stadium is rocking.
48′ – GOAL! Nuremberg 1 – 0 Bayern Munich (Periera) Nuremberg break down the left and Ulreich is forced to parry Behrens’ shot away. The rebound falls to Pereira on the edge of the box and he just steps inside and curls one past the Bayern keeper and in to the far corner. Well, well.
46′ – The referee is back and so are the players, who largely lingered at the edge of the pitch. We’ll try again.
46′ – And they’re off again. The away fans have started the half with a volley of smoke bombs and flares and the referee has led the players off the pitch.
46′ – The players are back out for the second half and Kovac has seen enough to make a change. Gnabry, a surprise omission, is on for Müller.
HALF TIME: That that for the first 45. Nuremberg have proved more stubborn opponents than we might have expected, with Bayern only really testing Mathenia when Alaba’s freekick hit the bar. The visitors struggled to get out of their half early on but caused a few issues of their own a bit later on. Could there be another twist in this title race?
45′ – This one is in a similar position to Alaba’s earlier effort but set up foor a right footer, so it’s Lewandowski. But the Pole absolutely balloons that. A rare occassion where it actually wouldn’t have gone in two goals.
44′ – Coman, who has probably been Bayern’s brightest spark so far, has two pops at getting past Bauer, but the right back does well to block the cross. Nothing comes from the corner. But now Bayern have a free kick in a good position…
40′ – Ishak bursts through on the right side of the penalty area and drives one low towards goal. But Ulreich gathers this one, just about. The home side starting to ask one or two questions.
38′ – It seems the VAR review was for Ulreich’s tackle. But there didn’t look much wrong with that bit, unlike what came just before.
35′ – Chances! Pereira jinks on the edge of the box and fires just wide. Then Ulreich lets a simple square ball run across him and is almost caught out by the Nuremberg man before getting a slide tackle in. Shades of Real Madrid last season from the backup keeper. There’s a brief VAR review, I’m not sure what for, and the corner is cleared. Ulreich has not impressed this season.
31′ – Another object, probably a lighter again, thrown on to the pitch, this time in the direction of Thiago. Shortly after, Lewandowski gets his first chance but floats it harmlessly through to the keeper.
28′ – It’s all very slow and scrappy. Nuremberg are doing well to hold in there but that surely won’t be sustainable. That said, they did manage it against Dortmund in February.
23′ – Woodwork! Bayern win a freekick well within Alaba territory. The Austrian places it carefully and whips it beautifully towards the top corner. Mathenia gets a fingertip to it and helps it on to the crossbar. Müler can’t quite get on the rebound. Looked like a mirror image of Caligiuri’s for Schalke yesterday, that.
20′ – Goretzka tries to slip Coman in with a cute little ball through the middle of defense but Ewerthon reads it.
16′ – Martinez helps another one in to the box but there’s nothing doing. It’s all in Nuremberg’s half now. Bayern haven’t really got behind yet but the pressure is growing.
13′ – Oh dear. After Jadon Sancho was hit by a lighter from the stands yesterday, it looks like some morons in Nuremberg have decided to follow suit. Several lighters land near, but thankfully not on, Kimmich as he waits to take a corner. Seriously, what are they hoping to achieve with that? So pointless.
12′ – Pereira picks up a long crossfield ball on the right and drives at Alaba but his pass to Ishak is poor.
10′ – Kimmich whips in a deep ball, which Nuremberg can only clear to Coman. He puts the ball back in the box and Bauer makes a bit of a hash of it, bouncing it off a teammate for a corner. Thiago’s delivery just evades everyone.
8′ – Both sides have spells of possession but most of it is in midfield. Slow start.
5′ – Bayern get a free kick in Nuremberg territory but Coman rushes it and sends it floating in to Mathenia’s arms.
3′ – Lots of the ball for Bayern in the early stages but the choreo from the home fans, spelling out their team’s name behind the goal they are defending has been the star of the show so far.
1′ – We’re off. Will Bayern make a good week a great week? Or can Nuremberg pull off a shock and give themselves a chance to escape a record ninth relegation?
17:53 – The players have been through their warmups and we’re almost ready to go. The last time these two met was back in December, when Robert Lewandowski (2) and Franck Ribery led Bayern to the most straightforward of 3-0 wins. With Luka Jovic and Marco Reus blanking yesterday, and the latter now suspended, the Pole looks certain to win the Torjägerkanone (goal hunter canon), as the Bundesliga’s top scorer award is known, once again.
17:45 – Hello, and welcome to a game that looks like being the first leg of a later-than-usual title parade for Bayern Munich. For so long, Borussia Dortmund looked like they would deny the Bavarians a record-extending seventh consecutive title but their loss to Schalke leaves them a point behind their rivals.
It’s difficut to see Nuremberg, who have won just three league games all season, denying Niko Kovac’s men a four point lead (five if you include their far superior goal difference) with three games left to play. But then it was difficult to see Schalke upsetting the apple cart when Mario Götze scored yesterday.
Kovac has benched Serge Gnabry, with Thomas Müller and Kingsley Coman likely to provide the width and Arjen Robben returning to the bench in time for a brief farewell tour to the Bundesliga. Leon Goretzka gets the nod in midfield.