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Nürnberg the next step on a long journey

The first of three games in succession against other teams fighting to avoid the drop ended in victory for the Boys in Brown last week. Next up after the 2-1 defeat of SV Sandhausen is a trip to Nürnberg on Sunday (kick-off: 13:30 CET), a game that sees the Schultz XI determined to take another three points back to Hamburg.

Going into February, the mood in the respective camps could not have been more different. After a rocky start to the year at Fürth, the Boys in Brown picked up momentum and had collected 11 points by the end of January. For Nürnberg, however, things didn't go at all to plan. Robert Klauß's side took just one point from six games, slipping from seventh in the table to 14th in the process.

Nürnberg finally stopped the rot last time out at Darmstadt, whom the Boys in Brown face next week incidentally, after a dramatic finale in which the home side put through their own goal in stoppage time. "Crazy" was how Klauß described the 2-1 win afterwards. "It's a nice feeling and one we can have more often as far as I'm concerned," the head coach said. His team will be aiming for a repeat on Sunday, of course, but then again so will the in-form Boys in Brown. A third away win on the bounce is up for grabs.

It's a funny old game. The Boys in Brown go what seems an age without winning outside of Hamburg and then triumph not only at fortress Hannover but also at Heidenheim, whose home record was even more impressive. Further victories over Regensburg and Sandhausen at the Millerntor carried Timo Schultz's side from 17th to 14th in the table and turned a four-point gap to safety into a four-point cushion to the relegation play-off place. No question about it, things are going well at the moment. Not even the blip against an impressive Bochum outfit can alter that fact.

After the defeat of Sandhausen, Schultz expressed his delight over a solid performance at the back from his team while stressing that more needed to be done in developing a defensive mindset. "We've put ourselves in a better position", he said, "but with only 20 games gone, we haven't achieved anything yet. It might feel good at the moment, but we still have a long way to go." How right he is! The task now is to take the next step of a long journey at Nürnberg on Sunday.

 

Photos: Witters

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