Surman made seven changes from the team who beat Juventus three days ago as the club starts a run of six matches in eighteen days, and tonight’s team put in a solid, if unspectacular, performance at FC Nürnberg to earn a 1-0 win in front of the TV cameras.
BVB lined-up initially with three centre-backs, though that was changed after half-an-hour when Neven Subotic took a knock and the side switched to their familiar 4-2-3-1 formation with Marcel Schmelzer coming on to provide extra width against a stubborn FCN defence who would frequently have ten men behind the ball.
Within five minutes of coming on, Schmelzer was involved in moves that provided Julian Schieber with clear-cut chances. The first drew a smart save from Nürnberg ‘keeper Raphael Schäfer, as did the second, before Schieber smashed the rebound home from inside the six-yard box. BVB closed the half out and, despite the goal, the sides were statistically evenly-matched.
The second-half saw a handful of chances for both sides, but Dortmund defended resolutely, restricting the hosts to long-range efforts. The win puts BVB top of the table for today at least. The next match is a trip to Hamburg on Wednesday before hosting Schalke next weekend in the Revierderby.
FC Nürnberg 0-1 Borussia Dortmund Schieber 37 Att: 39,066 Bundesliga, Stadion Nürnberg. Dry 6°C. Referee: T. Welz
FC NURNBERG BORUSSIA DORTMUND 1. Raphael Schäfer (c) 7.0 | 20. Mitchell Langerak 7.0 14. Hanno Balitsch 6.9 | 15. Felipe Santana * 8.6 15. Timm Klose 7.6 | 4. Neven Subotic 6.7¹ 4. Arturo Javier Ledesma 6.8³ | 17. Marc Hornschuh 8.1 21. Marvin Plattenhardt 7.2 | 28. K.Katsouranis (c) 7.0 7. Markus Feulner 6.8² | 18. Moritz Leitner 7.0² 8. Almog Cohen 7.3 | 19. Kevin Großkreutz 7.0 2. Timmy Simons 6.7 | 26. Dennis Praet 7.2 6. Nana Asare 6.7 | 7. Viktor Fischer 6.9³ 23. Adam Hlousek 6.8¹ | 11. Marco Reus 6.9 9. Tomás Pekhart 6.9 | 23. Julian Schieber 7.6 ------------------------------ | ----------------------------- 30. Alexander Stephan . | 1. Roman Weidenfeller . 3. Per Nilsson n/a³ | 3. Marcel Schmelzer 7.0¹ 10. Marek Mintal 6.6¹ | 6. Sven Bender 6.8² 16. Róbert Mak . | 8. Ilkay Gündogan . 18. Manuel Zeitz . | 16. Lasse Sobiech . 27. Markus Mendler 6.8² | 21. Daniel Ginczek . 29. Mike Frantz . | 22. Julian Koch 6.8³
Match report by @realtimeFM:
“”I like this Dortmund side and believe they should be able to secure a win against Nürnberg tonight. The hosts’ task will not be made any easier by the absence of both first-choice full-backs Javier Pinola and Timothy Chandler.” – Raymbert Lake, worldsoccer.com.
 BVB have gone 3-4-3 today, eschewing their usual full-back supporting style, and it’s they who get us under way.
 Nürnberg have the first corner as Hornschuh heads Asare’s cross from the left behind. The hosts broke quickly, Katsouranis caught too far up-field leaving the back three exposed.
 BVB counter quickly, Leitner and Fischer break down the right. Fischer cuts inside and squares right along the six-yard line, Klose thumps it away.
 The ball’s in the back of the net for FCN but Adam Hlousek clearly fouled Marc Hornschuh before heading past Mitchell Langerak who didn’t attempt the save.
 FCN have a second corner, Hornschuh appeals in vain that Feulner got the last touch. Feulner takes it himself and Hlousek thumps a header against the bar at the near post.
 Substitution for FCN: Adam Hlousek (6.8) is coming off for Marek Mintal. He landed awkwardly at the corner a moment ago.
 Katsouranis gives away a freekick 25 yards out, left hand side of the area. Langerak takes it safely.
 Leitner has a similar freekick at the opposite end but doesn’t test the FCN ‘keeper.
 To be honest, the game hasn’t seen many chances yet. Balls in the final third being over-hit by both sides.
 Subotic surrenders possession too easily and FCN push men forwards, the final shot is wayward though.
 FCN get eight men behind the ball every time Dortmund have possession, so far they’re not being clever enough getting the ball wide and into the box.
 There’s some activity on the Dortmund bench, I think Surman’s seen enough of the three centre-back experiment. Marcel Schmelzer is warming up.
 Here’s the change: Marcel Schmelzer replaces Neven Subotic (6.7), so maybe he took a knock. Großkreutz moves to right-back in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
 First real moment of attacking quality for Dortmund, Dennis Praet does well to get the ball to Schmelzer who feeds the ball into the area for Julian Schieber but his short from an angle is well saved.
 1-0 DORTMUND! A goal that fires BVB to the top of the table. Katsouranis controls the play well in the centre of the park, working the ball to Großkreutz. Julian Schieber meets it with his head ten yards out. It’s straight at Schäfer, but he can’t hold it and Schieber knocks it home from close range.
 FCN almost draw level right from the restart, though BVB appeal for an offside. Asare’s cross is deep to the far post, headed back towards the penalty spot by Feulner. Mintal’s volley deflects to Feulner on the goal line and Langerak pushes his shot wide. Corner.
 FCN have their fifth corner, and Marc Hornschuh heads away well before blocking a strike coming back towards goal. He’s having a great game at centre-back.
 We’ll have an additional two minutes in the first half.
 There’s the half-time whistle and Julian Schieber’s strike separates the two sides. The stats show they’re pretty even out there today, BVB just having the cutting edge up front, but final ball distribution is poor.
HALF TIME: FC Nürnberg 0-1 Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)
[HT] Two changes for BVB at the break meaning they’ve used all three subs. Viktor Fischer (6.9) and Moritz Leitner (7.0) replaced by Julian Koch – who moves to right-back – and Sven Bender. Bender’s appearance means he’s the only Dortmund player to feature in every match for them this season.
 Attendance tonight is 39,066.
 Great start by the visitors. Katsouranis sends a 60-yard cross-field ball to Reus whose ball into the box towards Praet reaches his man but is cleared away. Schmelzer bends the ball back into the area but the ‘keeper gathers.
 Julian Schieber beats three men on a surge into the box before being ushed wide, he does brilliantly to hold up the ball and pick out Reus at the far post but his diving header is straight at Schäfer.
 Just over an hour gone, BVB defending well now with four across the back, FCN defending with lots of men behind the ball. Game been broken up frequently for offside in the last ten minutes.
 Plattenhardt, FCN’s left-back, looks like he’s taken a knock. Reus being encouraged to run at him.
 A FCN corner is headed away by Santana and Dortmund burst forward. Nürnberg had committed men forwards and BVB are 6-on-3 with Großkreutz on the ball heading towards goal…
 He picks out Julian Schieber on the penalty spot, with Dennis Praet right behind him, but Raphael Schäfer flings himself in the way and smothers the ball. Glorious chance and a great save.
 Timm Klose has given away a couple of fouls on Julian Schieber in the last three minutes, must be on thin ice with the referee by now.
 Substitution for FCN: Markus Mendler comes on for Markus Feulner (6.8) on the right of midfield.
 Julian Schieber beats the offside trap and goes for a lob over the top of Schäfer, but the ‘keeper gets a fingertip to it to push it over the bar. Corner.
 FCN really coming at BVB now, Mintal gets behind the cnetre-backs but Santana gets back to make a great challenge, he’s then clean through again but denied by a smart save from Langerak.
 Third substitution for FCN: Per Nilsson replaced Arturo Ledesma (6.8) at centre-back.
 Nilsson’s first activity is upending Katsouranis as BVB counter. He was arguably in behind the back four, and BVB players are pointing that out to the referee. Not even a yellow card, surprisingly.
 Praet and Schmelzer link-up well to get the ball to the far post but it’s cleared as Schieber comes in.
 The fourth official indicates a minimum of three additional minutes.
 FCN almost shoot themselves in the foot with a wayward backpass being closed down by Schmelzer. Schäfer gets there first but he’s stranded as BVB take the throw-in quickly. Nilsson heads up and off the goal line from Schieber’s header. Corner.
 Marc Hornschuh is completely unmarked arriving at the near post but it drops half a yard wide.
 That’s it! Felipe Santana man-of-the-match in the Dortmund back four, but it was a solid win, if not all that entertaining. BVB manager Gray Surman sets a personal record of seven unbeaten competitive matches.
FULL TIME: FC Nürnberg 0-1 Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)