Berlin: Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund dropped more points in the title race on Monday when they were held to a goalless draw at bottom side Nuremberg.
Dortmund are now just three points ahead of second-placed Bayern Munich, the defending champions who won 3-2 at Augsburg on Friday, with their lead slashed from nine points after drawing their last three league games.
"That was definitely too little from us, we have to pick up points again," said forward Mario Goetze.
"They didn't make it easy for us by standing deep, but we must improve."
Even without injured playmaker Marco Reus, plus defenders Lukasz Piszczek and Manuel Akanji, this was another below-par display from the league leaders.
Nuremberg were hammered 7-0 at Dortmund last September, but this was a vastly improved display from the hosts and the draw was celebrated like a win on the home bench.
It was their first game under caretaker coaches Marek Mintal and Boris Schommers after both head coach Michael Knoeller and director of sport Andreas Borneman were sacked last week.
The hosts deserve tremendous credit for battling as their captain Hanno Behrens twice went close to giving his side a shock lead, but his first-half headers went over.
Nuremberg's goalkeeper Christian Mathenia, who made four saves in the first half from Goetze alone, repeatedly thwarted the visitors' attack, but Nuremberg's winless streak in the league has now been stretched out to 16 games.
"No one gave us a chance going into this game which makes me even prouder that we picked up a point," said Mathenia.
Having crashed 3-0 at Tottenham Hotspur last week in the Champions League last 16, first-leg, Lucien Favre's Dortmund again failed to score and are now winless in their last five games in all competitions.
The first-half was twice halted to clear black tennis balls, thrown onto the pitch by fans in protest over the unpopular Monday night kick-off times in the Bundesliga which will be abolished for the 2021/22 season.
Updated Date: Feb 19, 2019 10:40:29 IST