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Reshuffled Bayern denied by ten-man Nürnberg

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Reshuffled Bayern denied by ten-man Nürnberg

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:40 pm

An unfamiliar Bayern side dropped points on their Bundesliga travels for the first time this term as Bavarian rivals Nürnberg clung on for a 1-1 draw in the 185th derby despite playing with ten men for the last quarter of an hour. It was certainly less than vintage from Jupp Heynckes' much-changed side, although the away point at least means Munich consolidate their lead in the standings ahead of Tuesday's crucial Champions League trip to Valencia.

The 50,000 capacity crowd in Nuremberg saw Mario Mandzukic hand the visitors a precious early lead, with Bastian Schweinsteiger and company content to preserve the advantage in a first half offering plenty of honest toil but few clear-cut chances.

Former FCB youth Markus Feulner levelled it up with a long-range swerver just a minute after the restart, and it was an even contest for a long spell as the re-energised home side gave as good as they got. However, after Timo Gebhart's 77th-minute dismissal for a second bookable offence, FCN parked the bus and the game ended in stalemate, a not unfair reflection of the play on the day.

The first draw of the season still means FCB maintain their record start to the season, as the Reds have won 10 of their 12 games so far and comfortably top the standings on 31 points, eight clear of Eintracht Frankfurt and Schalke, although the Gelsenkirchen side do not play until Sunday. The match action continues thick and fast with Heynckes and his troops travelling to Spain in midweek, before Hannover 96 visit the Bavarian capital next Saturday.

With Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Jerome Boateng and Luiz Gustavo all injured, and mindful of the Valencia clash in just a couple of days, Heynckes made six changes to the team from the 2-0 victory over Frankfurt last week, with the likes of Philipp Lahm, Javi Martinez and Claudio Pizarro all starting on the bench.

The team on the field comprised Manuel Neuer in goal, with David Alaba, Daniel van Buyten, Dante and Rafinha in the back four, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk alongside captain Schweinsteiger in central midfield midfield, Xherdan Shaqiri and Thomas Müller on the flanks, and Toni Kroos in behind Mandzukic.

Nürnberg coach Dieter Hecking, whose team lay just above the drop zone before kick-off and had collected only 11 points going into the match, sent out a side centred around Belgium veteran Timmy Simons and also featuring former Bayern man Feulner, a Munich youth product who made 13 first-team appearances for the Reds back in 2002/03.

After referee Manuel Gräfe whistled the contest underway, FCB wasted no time in getting on the front foot and taking a third-minute lead when Mandzukic applied the simplest of finishes after a burst and slide-rule lay-off by Kroos. Heynckes' men went on to dominate the first 20 minutes, with Alaba a lively presence down the left and Schweinsteiger in lazy command of the centre of the park.

But the home side eventually recovered from the early shock and began to make inroads down the wings, chiefly through the agile Timothy Chandler, although Neuer safely plucked no fewer than three crosses from the USA international out of the air in quick succession.

FCB never forgot to look for chances on the break and could easily have gone two up after 35 minutes, but after Mandzukic picked out the marauding Rafinha in the box, the Brazilian hit a weak shot straight at FCN captain and keeper Raphael Schäfer. The final chance of the half came from another Munich counter-attack, but Kroos directed a header from the edge of the box straight at Schäfer.

There was a shock for the visitors immediately after the restart when Kroos lost possession in midfield and Feulner strode into a shooting position, unleashing a vicious swerving drive from fully 25 yards to beat Neuer and level the scores. Bayern were a shade fortunate not to concede a second goal from the very next move, only Dante's desperate lunge denying Sebastian Polter's half-volley from a loose ball ten yards out.

Heynckes reacted and replaced Tymoshchuk and Rafinha with Martinez and Lahm, as referee Gräfe handed out a smattering of yellow cards when the action turned a shade tasty for a spell. Neuer made a brave stop from Polter's header, and Per Nilsson planted a free header of his own just wide of the target, but Shaqiri caused havoc in the Nürnberg box with two trademark thrusts to the by-line.

The stage was set for a tense last 15 minutes, but Gebhart's blatant elbow to Schweinsteiger's face rightly earned him an early trip to the showers and tipped the balance back Bayern's way. Pizarro took over from Mandzukic, but chances were hard to come by against the packed FCN defence and the league leaders ended up settling for a point.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley
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