Konstantinos Mavropanos dropped out of the starting lineup for FC Nürnberg in their final game of the season on Saturday, which led to a dramatic finish.
With Mavropanos absent through injury, Nürnberg had a disappointing end to the regular season, dropping down into the relegation play-offs. However, the centre-back returned for the first leg of the play-off, helping his team to a 2-0 home win.
This put them in a very strong position going into the second leg, particularly with away goals in effect. Unfortunately, Mavropanos picked up another knock and had to drop to the bench for the game.
With the Arsenal loanee in the team, Nürnberg fell apart defensively. In a disastrous 13-minute spell in the second half, they went from 2-0 up on aggregate to 3-2 down.
There was one more twist in the tale, though. In the 96th minute, having already played the entirety of the minimum added time, Nürnberg somehow found a goal. This made it 3-3 on aggregate, keeping them up on away goals and sparking joyous celebrations.
It doesn’t get much more dramatic than that. In the end, the home clean sheet Mavropanos helped the team achieve was vital, and he can leave Nürnberg knowing they got the job done. Even if it was by the skin of their teeth.
The 22-year-old made 12 appearances on loan from January until the end of the campaign. He dominated in the air and in making interceptions, though Arsenal will worry about his continuing injury problems and occasional lapses in concentration.
At least he got out there and played some football, even if it wasn’t as much as he’d hoped. That’s a positive ahead of whatever Arsenal plan to do with him this summer.