Nurnberg held Eintracht Frankfurt to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Bundesliga relegation play-off on Thursday.
The visitors, who missed out by just two points to RB Leipzig in the race for an automatic promotion spot from the 2. Bundesliga, were second best for much of the first half but took the lead through an own goal from Marco Russ just before the break.
Nurnberg applied pressure looking for a second, but Mijat Gacinovic struck an equaliser just over an hour in to breathe life back into the tie.
Frankfurt assumed control and, with the Commerzbank Arena having found its voice, began to peg Nurnberg deep into their own half, with Raphael Schafer making a fine save to deny Gacinovic a second.
But Niko Kovac’s side – who only dropped into the play-off spot thanks to their final-day defeat to Werder Bremen – could not find a breakthrough, meaning a place in the Bundesliga next season remains very much up for grabs.
Frankfurt started well in a cagey opening half, but they were undone through a slice of misfortune.
Captain Russ, who was this week diagnosed with a tumour after failing a routine drugs test, turned the ball into his own net shortly before half-time to give the visitors the advantage.
Frankfurt were forced to weather a storm early in the second half but grabbed a valuable equaliser through Gacinovic, who bundled through a crowded box before prodding a clever finish into the bottom corner.
Gacinovic was denied a winner when his far-post header was saved by Schafer, but Nurnberg held on for what could prove to be a valuable first-leg draw.