Nuremberg return to top flight
© AFP

Nuremberg will play in Germany's top division again next season, following a year in the second tier, after they wrapped up a 2-0 second-leg play-off win at home to Energie Cottbus. Striker Christian Eigler scored the first goal in front of a sell-out crowd of 46,780 fans after 29 minutes before Slovakia's Marek Mintal scored the second on 37 minutes to seal the victory.

After Ghana striker Isaac Boakye had scored twice to seal Nuremberg's 3-0 win in the 28 May first-leg, Nuremberg have now earned their place back in Germany's top-tier with a 5-0 win on aggregate. The result means Energie Cottbus will play their football in the second division next season.

Cottbus knew they had their work cut out today to preserve their place in the top tier, and mustered the first chance in the third minute, but Nuremberg goalkeeper Raphael Schafer made a fingertip save from Jiayi Shao's effort. The visitors had the better of the early battle in midfield, but could not find the breakthrough.

When the opening goal came just before the half-hour mark, it was at the other end. Mintal fed Eigler, whose left-footed strike found the bottom-right corner of Gerhard Tremmel's net. Eight minutes later, Nuremberg extended their lead to put the tie firmly out of reach. Mintal capitalised on a mistake by Cottbus defender Mario Cvitanovic, dribbled forwards goal and fired into the bottom-right corner leaving Tremmel helpless.

The second half began with a carnival atmosphere among the home fans and a feeling of resignation among their guests. Nuremberg frustrated their visitors after the interval by keeping possession as they looked for an unlikely way back.

A stoppage in play for a firework being thrown onto the pitch allowed the Cottbus players time to regroup, but when the game restarted it was only so the two teams could go through the motions. Neither goalkeeper was tested in the second half, the end of which prompted celebrations for Nuremberg and heartbreak for Cottbus.

The German Football Federation have brought in the promotion play-off this season between the side who finished third from bottom of the Bundesliga, Cottbus, and the team which finishes third in the second division, Nuremberg.