FC Köln 1-2 FC Nürnberg

Posted on September 11, 2011

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NURNBERG Skipper Timmy Simons scored twice from the penalty spot as Dieter Hecking’s side secured three vital points against FC Koln.

Koln’s Pedro Geromel was at fault for gifting Nurnberg two penalties inside four minutes with fouls on Markus Feulner and Tomas Pekhart, which allowed the Nurnberg captain to cooly fire home both spot kicks.

However, striker Tomas Pekhart was sent off just before half-time and the Billy Goats pulled a goal back through Adil Chihi. Miso Brecko of FC Koln was harshly sent off with 17 minutes remaining after a trip on Feulner.

Stale Solbakken’s men secured their first win of the season in a dramatic 4-3 win over Hamburg SV at the Imtech Arena but they made a surprising three changes to the starting eleven.

Former FC Bayern keeper Michael Rensing returned between the posts ahead of Miro Varvodic, Christian Eichner came in for Andrezinho and Lukas Podolski started ahead of Mato Jajalo after his excellent impact in Hamburg as a substitute.

FC Nurnberg coach Dieter Hecking made four changes to the team, mainly in attacking areas, to freshen up for the trip to Cologne after picking up three points at home to FC Augsburg last matchday.

Hecking brought in Alexander Stephan, Markus Feulner, Markus Mendler and Alexander Esswein which gave the visitors plenty of flair and craft in Mendler and Esswein, in particular. Patrick Rakvosky, Almog Cohen, Julian Weissmeier and Christian Eigler dropped out this afternoon.

FC Köln 1-2 FC Nürnberg: 90 minutes

With Wolfsburg and Schalke meeting shortly after this clash at the Rhein-Enegie-Stadion, this match was merely just a starter for the neutrals tuning to Sunday’s Bundesliga action.

But it started at a fierce pace with the visitors eager to draw first blood against the struggling Billy Goats of Cologne. Young attacking midfielder Alexander Esswein struck the post in the opening minute in a sign of intent from Dieter Hecking’s side.

Nurnberg continued on the front-foot and should have gone ahead on 16 minutes when Markus Mendler played a tidy through pass in to Tomas Pekhart’s path and the Czech striker could only rattle the crossbar with just the keeper to beat.

The opening goal came from the penalty spot on the half hour mark and it was a deserved lead for the away side. Markus Feulner was tripped inside the box and Nurnberg skipper Timmy Simons cooly slotted home the spot-kick.

And that lead was soon doubled when Geromel gave away a second penalty with a foul this time on Tomas Pekhart which allowed Timmy Simons to step up and fire the ball past Michael Rensing in to the same corner.

Six minutes before the break, the Billy Goats pulled a goal back through Moroccan attacker Adil Chihi after a neat move down the left-hand side and Peszko’s cross was deflected in to the path of Chihi who kept his nerve to convert the chance.

It seemed to go from bad to worse for Dieter Hecking’s side when Tomas Pekhart was sent off for a second bookable offence, both of which seemed fairly harsh, and the head coach of Nurnberg wasn’t too impressed with the decision.

The ten-man Nurnberg started the second half well and midfielder Timmy Simons was denied a hat-trick by a smart save from Michael Rensing.

Rensing was standing out like a sore thumb in a poor Koln performance and he made another good stop from Esswein before confronting Adil Chihi for not carrying out his defensive responsibilities.

The visitors though were content to hold back and try to break with Esswein and Feulner on the counter attack, especially with just the ten men.

But it soon became ten-a-side when Miso Brecko was sent off harshly for the hosts when he clipped at Markus Feulner after the midfielder had dribbled past the Slovenian.

The red card, though, seemed to have an immediately positive effect on Stale Solbakken’s men with Lukas Podolski crashing the ball in to the net but the linesman had already raised his flag for offside.

Dieter Hecking’s men were resilient enough to hold on, despite the best efforts of the Billy Goats, to secure a vital three points which lift FC Nurnberg in to seventh.

FCN: Young attacking talent come to the fore for Hecking

FC Nurnberg enjoyed their best Bundesliga finish since 2007 and narrowly missed out on a Europa League position at the end of the campaign.

Der Club picked up their third victory of the season this afternoon with a victory against a struggling FC Koln side who will almost certainly be involved in a relegation tussle with the likes of Hamburg, Kaiserslutern and Augsburg.

Hecking and sporting director Martin Bader have worked wonders at Nurnberg after returning from the second-tier in 2008, and almost making a swift exit from the Bundesliga in the following year.

Like the vast majority of sides in the Bundesliga, Nurnberg have embraced the 4-2-3-1 formation and arguably, have some of the best attackers outwith the likes of FC Bayern and Dortmund.

Hecking has had confidence in bringing through some excellent young talents, in particular, Alexander Esswein and Markus Mendler.

Both youngsters are part of the German youth setup with Esswein having represented the nationalmanschafft at every level from U17. The 21-year-old is comfortable on either the left or right-hand side and has been a shrewd addition after impressing with Dynamo Dresden in Bundesliga.2.

18-year-old Mendler still has a bit to go before he reaches the U21s but he is a regular with the German U19s and has complemented Tomas Pekhart extremely well from a central attacking midfield position. Click here to read more about the talented attacker.

MOTM: Markus Feulner (Nurnberg)

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Posted in: Matches