Eintracht Frankfurt shook off early injuries to beat FC Nuremberg 2-1 Friday, extending their perfect record to four wins in four games. They now sit atop the Bundesliga table with 12 points.
Nuremberg rallied late in the second half after going two goals down, but it wasn't enough to beat red-hot Eintracht Frankfurt, who only achieved promotion to the Bundesliga last May.
The visitors pushed the pace from the start, dominating possession and creating chances. A positive performance by Frankfurt was marred by an injury to captain Pirmin Schwegler with hardly more than ten minutes gone.
A clash of heads with Nuremberg's Hanno Balitsch left the Swiss midfielder unable to play on, and he gave way for Martin Lanig in the 15th minute. Frankfurt were forced to look to their bench yet again just six minutes later when forward Olivier Occean pulled up with a leg injury.
Erwin Hoffer came into the game as his replacement, and the substitute quickly made his mark. In the 25th minute, Nuremberg attempted to clear a Frankfurt corner, but the ball was immediately played back into the box. Anderson knocked the ball forward, and Hoffer was there to meet it, sending a low and unstoppable shot across keeper Raphael Schäfer's goal.
Yet the strike seemed to energize the hosts, who then began to take control of the game and create chances. Midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake's 38th minute attempt from outside the top of the box came closest, but the powerful shot bounced off the sidebar and Nuremberg entered the locker room trailing 1-0 at halftime.
The visitors started the second half as they did the first, with energy and confidence. The chances came, but it took until the 60th minute for Frankfurt to double their lead. Japanese midfielder Takashi Inui picked up the ball on the left wing and cut in past several Nuremberg defenders, putting a low, right-footed shot in the bottom corner to put his team 2-0 ahead.
Frankfurt hold on
More relaxed play after the second goal allowed Nuremberg to claw their way back into the match. Kiyotake, whose set piece delivery has been excellent all season, sent in a 76th minute free kick from the left wing that substitute Sebastian Polter was able to meet with his head, cutting Nuremberg's deficit to one.
The hosts continued to pile on the pressure after the goal, but Frankfurt did all they could to hold on. In the end, it wasn't enough and Nuremberg were handed their first home loss of the season.
Frankfurt now have 11 goals in just four games this season, but the big test will come next week when they face reigning Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund at home.
League play continues Saturday, with the marquee matchup pitting Schalke 04 against rivals Bayern Munich in Gelsenkirchen. Bayern are the only side theoretically capable of displacing Frankfurt at the top of the table, having started their season with three consecutive wins.