Nine-time champions of Germany between 1920 and 1968, Nuremberg have been consigned to life in the 2. Bundesliga for the past four years since a brief return to the Bundesliga in 2018-19 ended with a swift demotion.
Der Ruhmreiche’s efforts to challenge for a spot back in the big time have ended in abject failure over the past few years, and they ended the 2022-23 campaign in a lowly 14th place, just five points better off than Arminia Bielefeld in the relegation playoff place and eight clear of the automatic demotion spots.
Nuremberg did manage to navigate their final four league games unbeaten – ending the campaign on a positive note with a 1-0 win over Paderborn – and Dieter Hecking has now handed control of the reins to his former assistant Cristian Fiel.
The 43-year-old’s tenure has begun pleasantly, as Der Ruhmreiche have two wins and a draw to show from their first three pre-season matches, overcoming Pardubice and Diosgyor on home turf either side of a 2-2 stalemate away to Hartberg.
The visit of Arsenal actually represents Nuremberg’s final pre-season fixture before they enjoy a two-week break ahead of the 2023-24 2. Bundesliga campaign, and if Thursday’s game is anything akin to last year’s scrap between the two sides, spectators are in for a treat.
Rivals fans certainly took great pleasure in assigning Arsenal the ‘bottlers’ tag last season, as Arteta’s side spent no fewer than 248 days at the top of the Premier League table, only to bow to Manchester City’s superiority following a calamitous end-of-season collapse.
In doing so, the Gunners set a new unwanted record for the most time spent at the top of the Premier League table without winning the title, but few could have foreseen Arsenal going toe-to-toe with Man City for several months, especially when their number one goal was simply to break back into the top four.
However, a second-placed finish marked Arsenal’s best-ever placement in the Premier League since the 2015-16 campaign, and the Champions League anthem will soon be blasted at full volume inside the Emirates on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, just reward for Arteta’s admirable endeavours in North London over the past few years.
As mentioned, the Gunners have already taken to the turf at London Colney this summer to do battle with Watford, who took the lead through Ismael Kone before Marquinhos rescued a draw for Arsenal, and Arteta’s side will soon fly out to the United States for blockbuster matches with the MLS All-Stars, Manchester United and Barcelona, before the latest iteration of the Emirates Cup against Monaco.
Owing to Manchester City’s success in the league and FA Cup, a piece of silverware will be on offer for Arteta’s side when they meet the Spaniard’s former team in the Community Shield on August 6, before they commence Premier League duties at home to Nottingham Forest on August 12.
The North London giants enjoyed a brief stopover in Germany to face Nuremberg last year, and despite falling 2-0 down on the day, Arsenal came out on the correct end of a 5-3 scoreline thanks to Gabriel Jesus’s brace, a pair of own goals and a trademark Mohamed Elneny spectacular.