DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The current season has consistently gone from bad, to worse, to bordering on a Shakespearean tragedy for Nürnberg, and after last weekend's home loss to Hoffenheim dropped them down into the bottom three, they suffered another blow that will affect them well into 2012.
Shortly before the half, Nürnberg starting right back Timothy Chandler was shown a straight red card for a late sliding tackle on Hoffenheim midfielder Sejad Salihovic.
The decision by referee Dr. Jochen Drees to show a straight red was perhaps a harsh one considering the incidental nature of the contact between Chandler's foot and Salihovic's ankle. However since it came within four minutes of a hotly contested goal by Hoffenheim which had left a Nürnberg player on the turf injured throughout the buildup, the tackle could have been interpreted by the official as a retaliatory action.
The German FA announced on Monday that they would extend the mandatory one-game suspension stemming from a straight red card to two games for Chandler. This means he will not only miss out on their final game of 2011 on Saturday at Leverkusen, but also their first game back from the winter break in late-January at home against Hertha.
This comes as a major blow to a Nürnberg team who have won only once in league play over the last three months, and have slipped down the standings to their current place in the relegation zone, where they will in all likelihood remain through the winter break.
The red card was the second sending-off of Chandler's short first-team career, the first coming during the spring when he picked up a pair of yellow cards in a loss against Werder Bremen.
Considering the questionably-red nature of the offending foul and the German FA's penchant for dishing out multi-game suspensions for repeat offenders, even between different seasons, last season's yellow-red likely played a role in the decision to increase the suspension from one game to two.
Nürnberg has not given any indication as to whether they will appeal the penalty, however such an endeavor is rarely, if ever, undertaken by teams within Germany.
Despite the suspension, Chandler will still be available for his team's upcoming German Cup game on December 20 against local rivals Greuther Fürth, as the two teams square off in the "Franken-derby" in a quest to reach the competition's quarterfinal.