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BOYS IN BROWN EAGER TO EXTEND UNBEATEN RUN AT NÜRNBERG

The Boys in Brown go to FC Nürnberg on Sunday (kick-off: 1330 CET) keen to sign off for the second international break of the season with a result that will see them take their unbeaten run to six matches. That is going to be a challenge, however, against a Bundesliga relegated side who are also unbeaten in their last five matches.

Daniel Buballa was in buoyant mood after last week's 2-0 home defeat of SV Sandhausen: "We're on a roll and aim to keep at it. We're enjoying ourselves on the pitch and playing good football. We want to build on that now," the stand-in captain said. Waldemar Sobota was equally delighted by the third home win on the bounce. "If we can get a few more points away from home now, it could be an interesting season," said the wide player, who performed admirably on his return to the side.

Sobota had a point about the team's away form. The Boys in Brown haven't won on their travels in seven months since the 1-0 success at SC Paderborn, who went on to win promotion, in early March. That victory was followed by five straight defeats last term plus one loss and three draws this season. It is high time Jos Luhukay's side picked up a win away from home, then, something they have achieved on each of their last two visits to Nürnberg. An Aziz Bouhaddouz brace saw them to a 2-0 win in the 2016/17 campaign, while Waldemar Sobota grabbed the only goal of the game the following season, which ended with Nürnberg winning promotion.

The home side, who came straight back down after finishing bottom of the Bundesliga table last term, experienced a rollercoaster start to the campaign. Victories by the only goal against Dynamo Dresden, FC Ingolstadt (DFB Cup) and VfL Osnabrück contrasted with a 4-0 home drubbing against HSV and a 3-2 defeat at SV Sandhausen. Nürnberg then drew their next three games despite going ahead each time. Damir Canadi's team returned to winning ways in impressive fashion at fellow relegated side Hannover 96 on Monday, however, to climb to seventh in the table. "If they can score four in a clash of two teams relegated from the Bundesliga, then Sunday's game is going to be a huge challenge for us," said Luhukay at Friday's pre-match news conference.

With the Boys in Brown level on points and one place above Nürnberg on account of their superior goal difference, there is very little to separate the two sides going into Sunday's game. Both are unbeaten in five, their last defeats coming in mid-August when late goals saw Jos Luhukay's side go down 2-1 at Stuttgart and Nürnberg succumb 3-2 at Sandhausen. Understandably, both teams are eager to enter the international break still unbeaten.

The Boys in Brown have lost just five of their 20 second-division meetings against Nürnberg and travel south determined to build on their recent performances and especially the impressive display against Sandhausen last time out. If they can reproduce that form at the Max Morlock Stadium, they have every chance not only have extending their unbeaten run, but also of signing off into the international break with their first win on the road in seven months.

Photos: Witters 

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