The Werkself produce a convincing display in a 4-1 away win at FCN. Spahic, Boenisch and Hilbert score for Bayer 04.
The target for Easter Sunday was clear. A win at FC Nürnberg was required to retain fourth spot retaken last weekend. Sascha Lewandowski kept faith with the side that beat Hertha BSC 2-1. “That win helped build our confidence,” declared Sebastian Boenisch.
That was evident from the kick-off. The Werkself dominated the opening stages of the game and deservedly took the lead on 16 minutes. And it was Emir Spahic who opened the Bayer 04 account in Nuremberg. The Bosnia and Herzegovina captain chanced his luck from 25 yards out with an unstoppable effort that fired into the Nürnberg net at 60 miles per hour – with his weaker right foot. That was Spahic’s first Bundesliga goal and it would hard to beat as a debut strike.
The joy at the early lead did not last long. The Nürnberg youngster Marvin Plattenhardt netted the equaliser ten minutes later from a free kick. “It’s incredibly difficult to defend against a shot like that,” said Sascha Lewandowski. The ball was intended to be a cross but it flew past friend and foe alike on its way into the net. Bernd Leno stood no chance.
“We didn’t let our heads drop,” said Sebastian Boenisch. On the contrary: Ömer Toprak narrowly missed restoring the lead just 120 seconds later. His header from a Gonzalo Castro free kick. The two sides went in all square at half-time with score at 1-1. “We said to ourselves at the break that we’d get our chances,” added Sebastian Boenisch.
Spectacular second 45
There were no changes for either side at half-time. And the game burst into life straight away. Bernd Leno pulled off two brilliant saves on 47 minutes, first from the top Nürnberg goalscorer Josip Drmic and then the follow-up effort from Hiroshi Kiyotake. “It might have turned out differently if we’d have gone behind,” he said after the game.
Instead, the Werkself went up the other end and regained the lead. Castro sent the ball into the box from a free kick where Ömer Toprak was alert in the melee to pick out Sebastian Boenisch. The Poland international calmly converted from close range to make it 2-1 on 48 minutes.
That was the turning point in the match as the hosts were unable to pose much of a threat after that. It was the exact opposite for the Werkself. Sascha Lewandowski’s team continued to press forward with gusto. “The second half was really good,” vouched the Bayer 04 head coach. The FCN keeper Raphael Schäfer kept out a rasping drive from the live wire Heung-Min Son (55’) before Boenisch hit the side netting with a shot from inside the penalty area on the hour mark. Another close-range effort from Son was saved by Schäfer on 79 minutes.
Spahic settles it
It was Emir Spahic who put the game to bed. According to Rudi Völler, Son was “sensational and completely selfless” when he broke from his own half into the opposition box where he picked out Spahic who moved forward in support. The central defender only had a tap-in to make it 3-1 on 80 minutes. That was Spahic’s first ever double in his professional career.
Roberto Hilbert came off the bench in the closing stages of the encounter. The man from Forchheim, who played for FCN as a youth, played on the right ahead of full back Giulio Donati who picked up a fifth yellow card. And the 28-year-old former Germany international also got his name on the score sheet. Son was again central to the move with a great run that ended with the South Korean shooting. Schäfer parried but Hilbert was on hand to score a fourth goal for Bayer 04. “We deserved the margin of victory,” said sporting director Völler after the match but he also sounded a warning: “We can’t afford to ease off.”
The Werkself are back in action on Saturday when Borussia Dortmund visit the BayArena in the match of the day (18.30 CET).
FC Nürnberg: Schäfer – Anghar, Pogatetz, Stark, Pinola – Balitsch, Frantz – Campana, Kiyotake (Colak 68’), Plattenhardt – Drmic.
Bayer 04: Leno - Donati, Toprak, Spahic, Boenisch - Bender, Can – Brandt (Hilbert 70’), Castro (Rolfes 70’), Son – Kießling (Derdiyok 89’).
Goals: 0-1 Spahic (16’), 1-1 Plattenhardt (26’), 1-2 Boenisch (48’), 1-3 Spahic (80’), 1-4 Hilbert (87’).
Booked: Plattenhardt – Donati.
Referee: Marco Fritz (Korb)