Eintracht Frankfurt will remain in the Bundesliga next season, after besting promotion hopefuls Nuremberg over two legs. Haris Seferovic scored Monday's decisive goal, keeping Nico Kovac's crew afloat.
FC Nürnberg 0-1 Eintracht Frankfurt (1-2 agg.)
Third-bottom in the Bundesliga trumps third in Germany's second division, for the sixth time in eight years since the German "relegation game" was resurrected in 2009.
Eintracht Frankfurt won a tense affair in Nuremberg on Monday, on the back of a rare moment of inspiration down the left flank. Haris Seferovic profited from the silky step-over skills of Mijat Gacinovic, who wormed free to cross low and find the Swiss international.
Frankfurt chairman Heribert Bruchhagen cut a relieved figure after the game, finding thanks for all involved in the season. He even thanked former coach Armin Veh for "being willing to leave" mid-season and make space for young Croatian coach Nico Kovac.
In a match that was short on cast-iron scoring chances, Frankfurt were able to hold the lead despite some late attacking changes from Nuremberg. Niclas Füllkrug spurned possibly the best late shot at an equalizer, failing to make proper contact with his left foot from close range and missing the target altogether.
Playing without suspended Marco Russ, and with Alex Meier benched, Frankfurt went into the game below full strength. An early injury to Marc Stendera in midfield only deepened coach Kovac's difficulties.
Few chances, but more for Frankfurt
Soon thereafter, 12 minutes in, former Freiburg talent Julian Kerk skied a good chance for Nuremberg - but it was the second division side's best look of the opening half. More of the action revolved around Raphael Schäfer's Nuremberg goal, with second-half scorer Seferovic missing the target with both his head and his left leg before half time. Szabolcs Huszti also stung Schäfer's gloves before the break.
Alex Meier joined the fray in the second half for the final half hour, but had little role in the goal that fell within 10 minutes of him coming on. After Gacinovic skinned Brecko and then put his low cross through another defender's legs, leaving only the simplest of tap-ins for Seferovic, Nuremberg were forced to go aggressive. Having taken a 1-1 draw with Frankfurt at home, the second division side had seemed happy with the prospect of promotion via a goalless draw for the first hour of the game.
Coach Rene Weiler brought on two offensive options in Rurik Gislason and Danny Blum, replacing winger Kerk and holding midfielder Ondrej Petrak. Even this, and later the addition of defender Even Hovland as an extra target man in attack, did little to force chances threatening Frankfurt's lead.