Nürnberg win as Hertha fans turn on under-performing stars

RESULTS Fri Mar 12 FC Schalke 2-1 VfB Stuttgart Sat Mar 13 Borussia M’gladbach 0-4 VfL Wolfsburg, VfL Bochum 1-4 Borussia Dortmund, FSV Mainz 1-0 FC Köln, Hannover 96 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt, Hertha BSC 1-2 FC Nürnberg, FC Bayern München 2-1 SC Freiburg Sun Mar 14 1899 Hoffenheim 0-1 Werder Bremen, Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 Hamburger SV.

Albert Bunjaku nodded Nürnberg back into Saturday's clash

After becoming the first team to beat Bayer Leverkusen this season, FC Nürnberg went into Saturday’s crunch match with Hertha Berlin knowing that a second consecutive win would all but banish the capital city club to relegation (highlights here).

And win it they did – just – with an injury time winner courtesy of Greek striker Angelos Charisteas, after Albert Bunjaku of Switzerland had headed the visitors level.

It was all a bit depressing, really, as not only were the Hertha fans preparing to riot inside the stadium, but The Fundesliga’s prediction of a 1-1 draw was looking perfect until the striker slotted home his first goal of the season and handed Nürnberg the three points.

Accepting that his team is as good as gone, Hertha manager Michael Preetz spoke frankly to the Bundesliga’s official website, stating “We’re now already planning for life in the second division.” The proverbial fat lady, it would seem, has already ensured there is to be no final swansong on their fight to stay in the top league.

According to my estimations Hertha will be gone by the April 16. And even if they aren’t gone, a quick peek at their final few fixtures tells you all you need to know about their chances of survival: their last three games are against Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen, and probable 2010 Champions, FC Bayern.

Nürnberg, on the other hand, are looking like they might actually stay up. Their next four fixtures throw up three home games – win those and they will surely be plying their trade once again in the 1. Bundesaliga next season.

So, those Hertha fans...

As if smashing-up advertising boards and ripping out and lobbing dugout seats onto the Olympia Stadion turf wasn’t evidence enough of their discontent; around 150 of their, presumably mightily peeved, fans then took to the field themselves, armed with flagpoles, fixtures and fists, to set off on a trail of destruction that will surely have huge repercussions for their team.

Aside from the damage caused to the dugouts, advertising boards and fences, 25 fans are reported to have been arrested following the carnage, while four police officers are said to have been ‘lightly’ injured.

"Not the chairs - anything but the chairs!"

Up at the business end of the table it was back to winning ways for Leverkusen.

A Stefan Kießling brace took his goal tally to 16 for the season and helped them to a 4-2 win over Hamburger SV on Sunday, while wins for Schalke and Bayern München mean a tight top three is maintained.

Arjen Robben, arguably alongside Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney as the hottest players in Europe at the moment, scored another couple of goals to give league leaders FC Bayern a harder-than-expected 2-1 victory over SC Freiburg, and Wolfsburg’s Bosnian striker Dzeko also helped himself to two as they strolled to a 0-4 away win over Monchengladbach.

A Mainz victory over strugglers FC Köln now means they are only five points off of a Europa League spot, while a Hannover win at home to Frankfurt leaves them just one point and one place off of safety. Who’d have thought that just a few short months ago?

Our weekly Franck Ribéry story comes courtesy of Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who says it is their “number one priority” to extend the Frenchman’s contract.

While it might be top of the club’s agenda, however, it seems the winger has other intentions, stating “I want to go to the World Cup with a clear head; I want to have made my decision by the end of March.”

One player who has extended his contract this week, though, is Bundesliga top scorer Stefan Kießling.

He has signed a new deal to keep him at Leverkusen until the summer of 2015, saying the club’s vision was the main reason behind his agreement to stay with the Werkself.

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