Soccer

Frankfurt beats Fuerth, Nuremberg draws Wolfsburg

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Associated Press
3/31/2013 1:55:24 PM
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BERLIN -- Eintracht Frankfurt held on to win 3-2 at bottom side Greuther Fuerth to end its six game winless run in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

"It was immensely important to get the points today," said Armin Veh, who extended his contract as Frankfurt coach on Monday.

His side conceded in the second minute when Nikola Djurdjic scored from close range after a corner for Fuerth's quickest lead in the Bundesliga.

Stefan Aigner had a goal ruled out for offside as Frankfurt sought a response, but teammate Takashi Inui equalized three minutes later by shooting past two defenders and inside the left post.

Frankfurt maintained the pressure after the break, and Aigner deservedly scored in the 59th after controlling Bastian Oczipka's cross.

Fuerth responded with pressure of its own but was caught out on a counterattack led by Inui in the 69th, when Alexander Meier scored with a sweet strike.

Three minutes later, Sercan Sararer pulled one back for Fuerth by shooting in off the post to set up an exciting finale.

Djurdjic struck the crossbar three minutes after that, but the home side failed to find an equalizer and remains 14 points from safety.

Frankfurt goalkeeper Oka Nikolov became the oldest player to play in the Bundesliga this season. The 38-year-old, who last played a league game in February 2011, was given another chance after regular goalkeeper Kevin Trapp broke his left hand while on international duty with Germany's under-21 side.

Sararer's goal prevented Frankfurt from reclaiming fourth place from Schalke on goal difference, but Veh's side finally broke the 40-point mark he had set as the target for the season.

Schalke and Frankfurt are level on 42, with Schalke currently occupying the last qualification spot for the Champions League on the basis of goals scored.

"We achieved our aim for the season," Veh said. "Now we want to make sure we're in the top six. We want to get into the European places."

Earlier, Nuremberg showed some of the spirit instilled by former coach Dieter Hecking to fight from two goals down and draw 2-2 at his new side Wolfsburg.

"When you're winning 2-0, have the chance to make it 3-0 and the opponents are dead as a dodo, you shouldn't make them so strong. But we did everything to make the opponents strong. That's why I'm incredibly angry," said Hecking, who switched between the sides last December.

Brazilian midfielder Diego scored in the third minute for Wolfsburg with a perfectly struck free kick and Ivica Olic made it 2-0 in the 27th when he let fly with a strike from 25 metres.

It would have been worse for the visitors at the interval if Patrick Helmes' effort hadn't struck the post but instead gone in.

Nuremberg's second-half improvement was rewarded in the 61st when Timmy Simons pulled one back with a stunning volley from 30 metres to the top right corner.

"Normally I only score penalties," Simons said.

Per Nilsson then equalized five minutes later with an outstretched leg to divert in Hiroshi Kiyotake's free kick.

Nuremberg substitute Tomas Pekhart came closest to scoring a winner in the 83rd, when his header came back off the crossbar.

"A deserved point for Nuremberg," Helmes said.

Runaway leader Bayern Munich destroyed Hamburger SV 9-2 on Saturday and can clinch the title by beating Frankfurt next weekend.

Takashi Inui (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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