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Sports

Nuremberg draw with Stuttgart in Verbeek debut

It wasn't pretty but it was a point as still-winless Nuremberg started life under new coach Gert Verbeek with a 1-1 draw at Stuttgart. A host of missed opportunities from Stuttgart certainly helped their cause, however.

The game's defining moments Friday all came within the first six minutes, with Vedad Ibisevic's third-minute penalty for Stuttgart canceled out by a fine finish from Josip Drmic soon after.

The quality of the game gradually drained away thereafter, but Verbeek will be content to have picked up a point away from home on his debut.

The former AZ Alkmaar coach had barely two minutes to consider his new place on the Nuremberg touchline before his team fell behind from the penalty spot.

Even despite his exceptional form, Stuttgart playmaker Alexandru Maxim hardly looked in a menacing position when Niklas Stark clumsily barged into him on the touchline of the penalty area. The challenge was enough to convince referee Guido Winkmann, however, and Ibisevic duly lashed home his seventh goal of the Bundesliga campaign.

Drmic takes his chance

The hosts had scant time to revel in their lead when Nuremberg right-back Timmy Chandler threaded a neat ball into the path of Drmic, who finished superbly past Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich from a tight angle.

Drmic was one of two changes Dutchman Verbeek made to Nuremberg's lineup, with winger Robert Mak also showing he could be worthy of a more consistent starting place.

Stuttgart attacker Ibrahima Traore crashed his long-distance shot-cum-cross against the crossbar as the half-hour mark approached, while Thomas Schneider's men again threatened to re-take the lead through Ibisevic's ambitious overhead kick soon after.

With much of Nuremberg's attacking moves coming down the right, left-winger Adam Hlousek sent a reminder to his team-mates of his ability when he stung the hands of Ulreich with a left-foot drive.

But in truth Stuttgart should have gone into the half-time break with a lead. Few could fault Martin Harnik's endeavor at right wing for the hosts, though his forwards in particular could have asked for better service.

His frustrating night was perhaps summed up when he somehow missed a free header from Maxim's flighted free-kick from deep left on the stroke of half-time.

Stuttgart pass up chances

The misses began to stack up for Stuttgart when captain Christian Gentner managed a fair Harnik impression from a corner on 52 minutes, and the normally reliable Ibisevic did the same near the hour-mark.

What quality there was in a game always more industrious than invigorating had largely ebbed away by then, though Nuremberg substitute Daniel Ginczek - in his return from injury - had what was his first meaningful touch deflected away from goal by Ulreich after being put through by Makoto Hasebe.

The teams traded late long-distance strikes that could be described as little more than speculative, limping to an end Verbeek in particular would have welcomed.

Nuremberg, in 16th, face an arduous task to lift themselves out of the clutches of relegation, but at least showed signs that, under the Dutchman, they may be harder to beat. After seven draws and three losses, The Club are still searching for their first Bundesliga win of the season.

They were, of course, done several favors by a horribly errant Stuttgart side, who could not reward the guile and effort of clear man-of-the-match Maxim.