– First test, first small sense of achievement: In sweaty temperatures, 1. FC Nürnberg showed no weaknesses on Saturday at regional league team Viktoria Aschaffenburg and clinched a lackluster but ultimately safe 2-0 (1-0) victory. The highly acclaimed striker Leonardo Vonic paved the way.
Actually, they would have wanted to celebrate their 120th club anniversary at Viktoria Aschaffenburg last year, but as is well known, the pandemic did not allow any big party in 2021. So this weekend, with a little delay, there will be a lot of celebrations around the Schönbusch stadium. With DJ Dave, bands like Shake and Backintime and that 1. FC Nürnbergwho was invited to the Untermain as a sporting guest of honour.
However, the second division team did not want to give any gifts in their first friendly in preparation for the new season. Striker Leonardo Vonic and an own goal by Benjamin Baier secured a lackluster but ultimately deserved 2-0 (1-0) win for the Nuremberg pros.
Three new starters
With Jan Gyamerah, Manuel Wintzheimer (both Hamburger SV) and Sadik Fofana (Bayer Leverkusen), three of the five newcomers to date were in the starting lineup in Aschaffenburg, while Nathaniel Brown, who had just been promoted to professional level, and last year’s U19 striker Vonic were given a chance to prove themselves. In addition to national player Mats Möller Daehli (holiday) and Pascal Köpke (training after knee surgery), coach Robert Klauß also had to do without the ailing Taylan Duman, Jens Castrop (both ankle problems) and Lino Tempelmann (knee irritation) as well as Felix Lohkemper (individual stress control).
It was hardly to be expected that in a newly formed team, just five days after the start of training, all the cogs would mesh. The club, which played in the 4-2-3-1 system in front of 1100 spectators, was unsurprisingly the more active and ball-safe team, but for a long time lacked the necessary penetrating power in their offensive efforts. Wintzheimer was denied by Max Grün from close range after 15 minutes, and Vonic was also unable to get past the Bundesliga-experienced keeper, who was on guard in Fürth, Wolfsburg and Mönchengladbach, after a fine pass from Johannes Geis (42′).
Young professional Brown as preparer
So it took until the aftermath of the first half before the knot burst with the guests. Through Tim Handwerker and Wintzheimer, the ball landed in the penalty area at Brown, who found Vonic in the middle with his cross. With a well-placed shot from eight meters, the native of Darmstadt with Croatian roots gave an idea of his goalscoring qualities.
Nevertheless, the half-time lead was a bit flattering, because seconds later Elias Niesigk headed a cross from the left completely unchallenged past the goal. Even before that, Viktoria, who was looked after by ex-professional Jochen Seitz, who normally competes with the club reserve in the Bavarian regional league in everyday life, had become more and more cheeky as the game went on and had some gaps, especially on the right side thanks to the agile Florian Pieper uncovered in the not always very stable club defense. Fofana almost sent one of his crosses into his own net, but Carl Klaus was just able to save the 19-year-old from an own goal (32′).
“We’ll give all fit players playing times,” Klauss announced and made a lively change at the break, which wasn’t the worst idea given the temperatures of around 35 degrees in the shade. A completely new team took to the field, with Erik Wekesser (Jahn Regensburg) and Louis Breunig (Würzburger Kickers) two other newcomers making their debut in club jerseys.
Valentini and Schäffler miss 3:0
This time the scoring went a little faster, but it was Benjamin Baier from Aschaffenburg, who wanted to clear a cross from Lukas Schleimer in front of Manuel Schäffler and unluckily steered the ball over the line to make it 0:2. Because Enrico Valentini (69th) and Schäffler (80th) missed further top-class chances and Christian Mathenia made a strong save against Niklas Meyer (64th), Middle Franconia remained 2-0 after 90 sweaty minutes. The festive mood at Schönbusch is unlikely to have clouded that.
“You could tell that the temperatures took a little bit of your energy. There wasn’t that much tempo in the game,” Klauß summed up and also complained that his team “didn’t create enough scoring chances from their dominance”. The coach, on the other hand, found the goals “played nicely, also from the spaces that we had discussed and trained beforehand. It was a good start for the first friendly, but we also saw that we had to work on a few things.” But they still have enough time for that.
Nuremberg, 1st half: Klaus – Gyamerah, Fofana, Hübner, craftsmen – Geis, Nürnberger – Vonic, Wintzheimer, Brown – Shuranov. / 2nd half: Mathenia – Schindler, Sörensen, Breunig – Valentini, Ilic, Kayo, Fuchs, Wekesser – Schleimer, Schäffler / Tore: 0: 1 Vonic (45th + 1), 0: 2 Baier (50th, own goal) / Viewers: 1100.