City players past and present in action as football returns in Germany
- Credit: Moritz Müller/Pool/PA Wire
One of Norwich City’s players was back in competitive action this weekend, as Germany’s top two divisions returned amid strict coronavirus social distancing protocols.
Philip Heise got back into the swing of things on Sunday afternoon for loan club FC Nuernberg during the 79th minute of a 1-0 defeat at St Pauli in Bundesliga Two.
The visitors were already down to 10 men after seeing their goalkeeper sent off for a foul outside his box 10 minutes after the break.
Heise was introduced on the left wing and was the last of Nuernberg’s five substitutes to be made, as part of altered rules for the restart which have been approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which controls the game’s laws.
With a similar change likely to be in use if the season can resume in England, German clubs are allowed to make five substitutions but only in three groups – to prevent the addition breaking up play more than usual.
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That is part of an acknowledgement that players may take time to recover full match fitness after a lengthy and unexpected break in their season, in the hope of avoiding injuries.
However, five minutes after Heise came on St Pauli scored the crucial goal to push into mid-table, leaving Nuernberg just a point above the bottom three with eight games remaining.
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Next up is a home game against Erzgebirge Aue on Friday (5.30pm UK time), who are sixth and still have faint hopes of forcing their way into the promotion picture.
There was a former City player in action on Saturday as well, as striker Dennis Srbeny started for Paderborn away to survival rivals Fortuna Dusseldorf in the top flight.
The 26-year-old had scored four goals in eight games prior to the Bundesliga’s suspension in early March but saw little in the way of chances in a hard fought 0-0 draw, being replaced in the 73rd minute.
Paderborn finished a run of four successive defeats with the draw but remain bottom, nine points from safety and six from Dusseldorf in the relegation play-off place. Next up is a home game against mid-table Hoffenheim on Saturday (2.30pm UK time).
The games were all played without spectators, with off-field staff and substitutes sat two metres apart and wearing face masks on the sidelines.