Wolfgang Wolf was replaced at the helm by the very experienced Hans Meyer in November 2005. Immediately things started to pick up with 8 points from Meyer’s first 5 matches. However, by the winter break, Der Club were still in grave danger.
It was Meyer’s team selections and 16 goals from Robert Vittek that miraculously propelled 1.FCN to an 8th place finish by May. The team were playing attractive football and doing so with a self-belief that had been sadly lacking before Meyer’s.
The 2006-07 season got off to a good start, although Vittek and Marek Mintal were to miss large parts of the season through injury. Victories in Stuttgart and at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach were followed by a credible goalless draw in Munich’s Allianz Arena, a result which saw Hans Meyer’s team become Spitzenreiter (league leaders).
Despite 11 draws, Der Club went into the winter break in seventh place. As the season’s early pacesetters, this was something of a come down but was a reality most fans were more than happy with. They were daring to dream but not too much.
Then on 2nd February 2007 Bayern Munich visited. Despite the strengths over recent years of the likes of Werder Bremen, Schalke 04, Borrusia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich are still the benchmark, especially for Nuirnberg for who the game is a huge local derby.
One game it might have been but the 3-0 victory gave 1.FCN the belkief that they could go on ot even greater things by the end of the season.
And so it was to be. Sixth place in the league was secured on the last day of the Bundesliga season. 1.FCN then had one more game to play – the DFB Pokal Final against Bundesliga Champions Stuttgart in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.
The cup final was a truly magnificent game of football, Stuttgart too the lead but Nuremberg legend Marek Mintal equalised. Shortly after half-time, midfielder Marco Engelhardt made it 2-1 to 1.FCN. A late penalty pulled Stuttgart level and brought extra-time. Fittingly, it was a spectacular goal from Jan Kristiansen which gave Nuremberg a superb 3-2 victory.
The glory days had returned, if only temporarily, and Hans Meyer was hailed as a Messiah in Nuremberg.
Read more about the 2007 DFB Pokal Final from the perspective of 1FCNUK members – Click here
More 1.FCN History chapters will follow soon…