Nuremberg defeated FSV Mainz 05 2-1 in the Bundesliga on Sunday to end the visitors’ seven-game unbeaten run and deal a blow to their hopes of European qualification.
Adam Szalai had the chance to open the scoring for Mainz in the 28th minute, after Javier Pinola bundled Nicolai Mueller over in the penalty area, but the Hungarian striker fired his spot-kick wide to the left.
Nuremberg defender Per Nilsson broke the deadlock in the 54th minute when he met Hiroshi Kiyotake’s in-swinging free-kick to head inside the far post.
Nicolai Mueller equalized six minutes later with a chip over the outrushing goalkeeper, but Nilsson scored his second in the 69th minute when he scrambled the ball into the net from Hanno Balitsch’s light touch to Kiyotake’s corner.
Mainz, who dropped to eighth, had most of the possession and 11 shots on goal compared with the home side’s six, but Nuremberg held on to preserve an unbeaten run at home going back to Sept. 29 last year.
“Luck isn’t smiling on us,” Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel said. “We weren’t rewarded for our efforts.”
Hannover 96 could only draw 0-0 at home with VfB Stuttgart in the late match, which ended to a chorus of whistles from fans.
“We made a lot of technical errors and we didn’t put them under pressure,” Hannover coach Mirko Slomka said. “We have to present ourselves differently for such a home game.”
Stuttgart striker Shinji Okazaki had the best chance of the game, but shot straight at Ron-Robert Zieler with only the goalkeeper to beat in the 52nd minute.
Sergio da Silva Pinto hit the side-netting at the other end shortly afterward, while Didier Ya Konan shot wide late on for the hosts.
“You didn’t have the feeling anyone would win,” Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia said. “The three points were there for us. We had their attack under control, but we needed to be more decisive up front.”